What are antibiotics? The main facts of these drugs.
It is necessary to understand that an antibiotic is a very serious medicine. You need to take antibiotics strictly according to the indications and preferably under the supervision of a doctor, then the treatment will be really effective and safe. In other cases, you may have troubles.
What is an antibiotic?
An antibiotic is a substance that can block the development or cause the death of certain microorganisms. This definition suggests that an antibiotic is a poison directed at the destruction of bacteria. And we will not argue with this, because we really poison bacteria inside our body, as people do it with cockroaches or mice that get into the house.
And are the antibiotics harmful to people? After all, what kills one organism can do much harm to another one. In fact, we are very different from bacteria, so the substances that kill them are absolutely harmless for us or their toxicity is very low. This property of antibiotics is called the principle of selectivity.
Most modern antibiotics only affect certain structures of microbes that have no analogues in the human body. But even with such selectivity, there is some danger to a person, but it is usually incomparable with the danger that is represented by diseases. Although there are situations where the use of antibiotics is not welcome for example a pregnancy.
When should I take an antibiotic?
An antibiotic is a mean of fighting bacteria. So, the indication for its use is the presence of a pathological process in the body, caused precisely by bacteria. In extremely rare cases and on the recommendations of a doctor, an antibiotic can be used in preventive purpose.
Before an antibiotic is prescribed, you need to make sure that the disease is caused by bacteria, not other microorganisms. More often the usual general blood test can find out this, in which bacterial infection increases the number of leukocytes. But sometimes it is required to determine not only the presence of a bacterium, but also a specific species for a more precise choice of an antibiotic and more effective treatment. Then the cultures are usually carried out, which allow the bacteria to grow on the nutrient field and determine their appearance.
Usually antibiotics are taken in the treatment of bacterial pneumonia, infections of the genitourinary system, purulent inflammation of the skin and infections transmitted by sexual contact. But many people practice the use of antibiotics with any colds, which is fundamentally wrong. Many colds are ARVI and caused by viruses, which can’t be killed by antibiotics.
In this case, the normal micro-flora of the body can suffer, which will significantly reduce its protective forces. Another issue is that the bacterial infection often joins a virus infection, but we can talk about it after 3 days of illness, if there is no improvement or there is deterioration. Then it is desirable to hand over the clinical blood analysis and to make a decision about taking antibiotics.
Many doctors recommend the use of antibiotics, not relying on analyses, but take into account your own experience. Of course, it is difficult to deny that in the future a doctor can learn to determine the presence of a bacterial infection “by eye”, but it is better to insist on analysis.
When you don’t need to take antibiotics
Most people are ardent admirers of self-treatment. And they can’t exactly explain what is an antibiotic and believe that this is just a strong medicine “from everything.” That’s why they often prescribe antibiotics to themselves when they do not need to do this. The most frequent situations are the treatment of fever, ARVI and preventive reception.
The increase of body temperature is a universal protective reaction, it can be caused both by viral and bacterial infection, an autoimmune process, a tumor and even simple overwork. Therefore, it is prohibited to prescribe an antibiotic with a temperature increase, there is a small probability that a bacterial infection is sensitive to the drug and the list of side effects in most drugs is rather large. With increased temperature, it can be knocked down by antipyretic drugs, but not by antibiotics.
As we have already said, it is pointless and dangerous to use antibiotics in ARVI. It is also not practical to take them for prevention. After all, nobody sprays the poison from the cockroaches around the house if there are no cockroaches at home. Of course, this is pointless and dangerous for the residents of the house. Why the preventive reception of an antibiotic is less dangerous? Prophylactic antibiotic treatment can be used if there is a real possibility of infection with a serious disease, sometimes they are recommended before and after surgery. But only under indications and supervision of doctors, and the independent reception of an antibiotic “just in case” is excluded.
The choice of the optimal variant of an antibiotic is the task of the doctor. Of course, it is better to conduct a special microbiological analysis that will identify the causative agent of the disease and select an antibiotic that will exactly affect it, but it takes for a long time, about 7-10 days to make such an analyses. No one can wait for such a long time and do nothing to treat the patient, so the antibiotic is prescribed taking into account the clinical picture.
Also the doctor must determine the duration of treatment and it is prohibited to violate it. Early completion, as well as early reduction of the dose leads to the formation of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. In this case, the disease itself can go on into a chronic form or give a complication.