How Do Antibiotics Fight Infections
Antibiotics are common medications, but they are also sophisticated weapons that kill or stun bacteria in your body. There are a number of different types, and they work in a variety of ways against different types of bacteria.
Its important to know that antibiotics work by killing bacteria, so theyre effective only when you have an infection caused by bacteria in your body. This is different from vaccines, which can shield you from infections caused by bacteria or viruses that you might encounter in the future.
Some antibiotics directly kill bacteria. These are called bactericidal antibiotics. Other antibiotics are bacteriostatic. This means that they slow bacteria down, giving your immune system time to catch up. Either way, antibiotics can stop a bacterial infection from spreading.
Because antibiotics attack bacteria that are living in your body, theyre most effective when youre already sick with an infection.
What about antiseptics?
Antiseptics are different from antibiotics because they arent targeted weapons. Instead, they are harsh chemicals that kill just about everything. Antiseptics are helpful for cleaning surfaces, because they can kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites but they also harm living cells. For that reason, antiseptics cant be taken as medication.
Should I Get The Flu Shot Or The Flu Spray
The flu vaccine is available in two forms: the injected vaccine and the nasal spray. The shot is approved for everyone over 6 months.
It’s long been advised that people with allergies to eggs should not get the flu shot. However, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says the vaccine contains such a low amount of egg protein that it’s unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in those with an egg allergy. If you have a severe egg allergy , talk to your doctor before getting the flu vaccine. Also, flu vaccines not made with the use of eggs are available.
Talk to your doctor if you have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome. People who are moderately or severely ill should wait until they recover to get the vaccine.
Intradermal flu vaccines go into the top layer of skin instead of the muscle, which means the needle can be 90% smaller than the kind used for a standard flu injection. Like the egg-free vaccines, this one seems like it would be ideal for babies and kids, but it’s approved only for adults 18 to 64.
When To Get A Flu Shot
Since the timing of the onset, peak, and end of flu season changes from year to year and cannot be predicted, it is difficult to pinpoint the best time for getting vaccinated.
For people taking these or other drugs that suppress the immune system, the optimum time to receive a flu shot is from October to mid-November.
Flu shots are generally available in early September. The flu shot should be scheduled well before the flu season starts to get busy because it can take one to two weeks for the shot to take effect.
Flu activity usually peaks between December and February, with some activity as late as May. Therefore, the vaccination could be given even later, if necessary, because receiving a shot late is better than not getting one at all.
Dont Miss: Can The Flu Cause Erectile Dysfunction
Also Check: Can Antibiotics Affect Paragard Iud
Who Should Not Have The Flu Vaccine
Most adults can have the flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.
You may be at risk of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine injection if you have an egg allergy. This is because some flu vaccines are made using eggs.
Ask a GP or pharmacist for a low-egg or egg-free vaccine.
If you’re ill with a high temperature, it’s best to wait until you’re better before having the flu vaccine.
Does The Flu Vaccine Contain Thimerosal
You might have heard the buzz about thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in certain vaccines. All vaccines that are marketed for use in young children no longer contain thimerosal, but it is still found in some vaccines used in adults, including certain flu vaccines.
Researchers have studied thimerosal extensively, and they haven’t found any connection between the preservative and autism or any other serious health risks. Still, if you’re worried, you can ask your doctor to use a thimerosal-free vaccine.
How Do Vaccines Fight Infections
Vaccines help you build a defense against illnesses you could face down the road. We have vaccines against some illnesses caused by bacteria, as well as some caused by viruses.
When you get a vaccine, your body is introduced to harmless examples of bacteria or viruses. This introduction gives your body a heads-up about germs that could become a threat if you encounter them in the future. Your immune system takes note of these possible intruders, and then is ready to respond quickly if you are exposed to them later.
Once youre vaccinated, your immune system has boots on the ground all over your body on the surfaces in your mouth, nose, and eyes, inside your stomach and gut, and circulating in your bloodstream all ready to attack at the first sign of invasion.
The advance intel a vaccine offers is critical: With it, your immune system can stop an infection so fast, you wont ever know it happened.
Remember, though, that vaccines rely on your immune system to build a strong defense, so they work best if you take them while youre healthy.
What Are The Benefits Of Antiviral Drugs
Antiviral treatment works best when started soon after flu illness begins. When treatment is started within two days of becoming sick with flu symptoms, antiviral drugs can lessen fever and flu symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by about one day. They also may reduce the risk of complications such as ear infections in children, respiratory complications requiring antibiotics, and hospitalization in adults. For people at higher risk of serious flu complications, early treatment with an antiviral drug can mean having milder illness instead of more severe illness that might require a hospital stay. For adults hospitalized with flu illness, some studies have reported that early antiviral treatment can reduce their risk of death.
Can I Get The Flu Vaccine If I’m Pregnant
You should get the flu shot if you’re pregnant. “It’s recommended for two reasons,” says Duchin. “One is because pregnant women have a higher rate of severe influenza and hospitalizations than non-pregnant women. And if you give the vaccine to pregnant women, you protect their unborn baby for the first 6 months.” Pregnant women should only receive the flu shot.
Talking To Your Doctor
The bottom line? You need to talk to your doctor. Every patient has different symptoms, needs, and medical histories. Only your doctor can give can tell you if its a good time to get your flu shot. They can also check your overall health and give you other tips for staying healthy during cold and flu season.
Also Check: What Antibiotic Is Used To Treat Kennel Cough
What To Expect With Influenza
Symptoms of the flu can hit very quickly and may last several weeks. A bout of the flu typically follows this pattern:
- Days 13: Sudden appearance of fever, headache, muscle pain and weakness, dry cough, sore throat and sometimes a stuffy nose.
- Day 4: Fever and muscle aches decrease. Hoarse, dry or sore throat, cough and possible mild chest discomfort become more noticeable. You may feel tired or flat.
- Day 8: Symptoms decrease. Cough and tiredness may last one to two weeks or more.
Antibiotics Vaccines And Covid
Lets say its time for your vaccine, but youre already on antibiotics for a different infection. Its reasonable to wonder whether your immune system is up to the challenge of building vaccine-related immune defenses while youre fighting an infection with antibiotics. But dont worry: Youve got this.
You May Like: Will Antibiotics Raise Your Blood Sugar
Who Should Take Antiviral Drugs
Its very important that flu antiviral drugs are started as soon as possible to treat patients who are hospitalized with flu, people who are very sick with flu but who do not need to be hospitalized, and people who are at higher risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health, if they develop flu symptoms. Although other people with mild illness who are not at higher risk of flu complications may also be treated early with antiviral drugs by their doctor, most people who are otherwise healthy and not at higher risk for flu complications do not need to be treated with antiviral drugs.
Following is a list of all the health and age factors that are known to increase a persons risk of getting serious complications from flu:
- Blood disorders
- Chronic lung disease
- Endocrine disorders
- Heart disease
- Kidney disorders
- Metabolic disorders
- People who are obese with a body mass index of 40 or higher
- People younger than 19 years of age on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.
- People with a weakened immune system due to disease or medications
Other people at higher risk from flu:
Difference Between Influenza And Covid
and the flu can be similar.
If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, contact the COVID-19 hotline on or your GP to check if you require COVID-19 testing.
The symptoms of COVID-19 to watch out for are:
- loss or change in sense of smell or taste
Also Check: What Is The Best Antibiotic For Acne Treatment
Which Antivirals Does The Cdc Recommend
The CDC recommends baloxavir marboxil , oseltamivir , peramivir , and zanamivir for flu. They are most effective when given within 48 hours after symptoms start to appear. These flu drugs can decrease the duration of the flu by one to two days if used within this early time period. Oseltamivir , and zanamivir are usually given for a period of five days to treat the flu. For flu prevention, they are typically used for at least 7 days. In some cases, antivirals may be given for longer periods of time. For prevention of flu, antiviral drugs may be given for at least 7 days. In some cases, antivirals may be given for longer periods of time.
Oseltamivir is approved for treatment in those over 2 weeks of age and for prevention in people ages 3 months and older.
Peramivir, given in one intravenous dose, is approved for people ages 2 and older.
Zanamivir, an inhaled medication, is approved for treatment of people ages 7 and older and for prevention in people ages 5 and older.
Possible Side Effects Of The Influenza Vaccine
The flu vaccine can cause side effects. In children under 5 years, these reactions may be more obvious.
Common side effects of the flu vaccine include:
- drowsiness or tiredness
- localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
- occasionally, an injection-site lump that may last many weeks but needs no treatment
- low-grade temperature .
Youre Allergic To Certain Antibiotics
If you or your child is allergic to antibiotics, talk to your doctor first before getting a flu shot. Some flu shots dont contain any antibiotics. However, according to the Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, certain flu shots may contain one or more of the following types of antibiotics:
- Quantity Neomycin : < 0.00002 mg 0.000062mg
- Quantity Polymyxin B : < 0.011mg
- Kanamycin : < 0.00003 mg
- Gentamicin : < 0.00015 mg
These antibiotics are sometimes added to the flu vaccine to prevent bacteria from contaminating it during the manufacturing process. If youre worried about an allergic reaction to the vaccine, keep in mind the antibiotics used are not usually the same ones you may be allergic to. The most common antibiotic allergies are to penicillin, cephalosporins, or sulfa drugs, which are not used in flu vaccine production. Although you shouldnt have an allergic reaction to the shot, its always best to check with your doctor before you get the vaccine.
What Are Flu Antiviral Drugs
Flu antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that fight against flu viruses in your body. Antiviral drugs are not sold over the counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from a health care provider. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.
You May Like: What Antibiotics Can Treat Mrsa
You Should Still Get The Flu Vaccine
The findings, Pulendran says, imply that when next seasons flu strain comes along, you want your gut-resident microbes to be in full bloom in order for your immune system to rise to the occasion. Pulendran offers some advice. Get your annual flu shot, he says. The greater your inventory of immune memory to influenza strains bearing any resemblance to the one thats coming over the hill, the more likely youll be able to deal with it, even if your gut microbes are in short supply.
Other investigators at Emory University, as well as researchers at the Ragon Institute, the University of Chicago, Georgia State University, and the Food and Drug Administration contributed to the work. The study appears in Cell.
Funding came from the National Institutes of Health, the Soffer Endowment, and the Violetta Horton Endowment. Stanfords departments of Pathology and of Microbiology and Immunology also supported the work.
Where To Get The Influenza Vaccine
In Victoria the most common way people access the flu vaccine is from their doctor or a pharmacist immuniser . Some local council immunisation services also provide the flu vaccine as do some hospitals, maternity services and community health services.
Workplaces seeking to reduce the impact of flu infection on employees may also provide flu vaccination programs for their staff.
You May Like: How Long Between Antibiotics And Probiotics
Impact Of Influenza Vaccination On Amoxicillin Prescriptions In Older Adults: A Retrospective Cohort Study Using Primary Care Data
Roles Methodology, Writing review & editing
Affiliation Medical Statistics, Faculty of Health: Medicine, Dentistry & Human Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, United Kingdom
Roles Methodology, Writing review & editing
Affiliation Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Roles Conceptualization, Writing review & editing
Affiliation Institute of Health Research, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, United Kingdom
Some People May Need More Than One Influenza Vaccine Each Year
There are some people who are recommended to have a second dose of the flu vaccine within the space of one year.
- Children less than 9 years receiving their flu vaccine for the first time require 2 doses 4 weeks apart for an adequate immune response.
- People who have had a haematopoietic stem cell transplant or solid organ transplant and are receiving the flu vaccine for the first time after transplant.
- Pregnant women, who may be vaccinated with the next seasons flu vaccine if it becomes available in the latter part of their pregnancy, even if they were vaccinated with the previous seasons vaccine prior to or earlier in pregnancy.
- Overseas travellers, who may benefit from a second dose of this seasons flu vaccine if going to the northern hemisphere winter and receiving the northern hemisphere formulation there is not feasible.
Please check with your GP, pharmacist, or other immunisation provider to find out whether you fall into one of these categories.
Dont Miss: Does Medicare Pay For Flu Shots At Cvs
Recommended Reading: Best Antibiotic For Upper Respiratory Infection
When To Seek Medical Care
These are the emergency warning signs of flu sickness.
- fast breathing or trouble breathing
- bluish lips or face
- ribs pulling in with each breath
- chest pain
- severe muscle pain
- not alert or interacting when awake
- in children less than 12 weeks old, any fever
- fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
- worsening of chronic medical conditions
These are not all of the possible emergency warning signs of flu. Contact your doctor about any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
If you have the emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should obtain medical care right away.
- difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
- fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
- worsening of chronic medical conditions
If you have symptoms of flu and are in a high-risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your doctor.
High-risk groups include:
- adults 65 years and older
- anyone with these conditions:
Do I Really Need A Flu Vaccine
If youre over 6 months old, the CDC says yes, you need to get a flu vaccination at the start of every flu season. Despite the fact that we tend to label any illness that makes us sneeze, shiver, or vomit as the flu, true influenza isnt a trivial illness. It can do far worse than just keep you home from work or school for a few days.
Hundreds of thousands of people each year are hospitalized with influenza. Between 3,000 and 40,000 people die during any influenza season, depending on the strain thats circulating, says Jeffrey Duchin, MD. Hes chief of the Communicable Disease Epidemiology & Immunization Section at Seattle & King County Public Health, and an associate professor in medicine in the University of Washington Division of Infectious Diseases.
Although young infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions like asthma or heart disease are most susceptible to flu complications , people of all ages die from the disease each year.
Its a serious health problem for adults and children. And its preventable, says Duchin, who is also a member of the CDCs Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices . We have a way for people to avoid unnecessary doctors visits, to avoid unnecessary antibiotics, and to avoid hospitalization.
Also Check: Flu Shot Cost Without Insurance Cvs
Recommended Reading: Can Antibiotics Make An Iud Ineffective