Sunday, April 14, 2024

How To Know You Need Antibiotics

Taking Antibiotics For Oral Infections

Antibiotics & your baby: what you need to know

For dental infections, dentists will often prescribe penicillin or amoxicillin, explains Merck Manuals. Clindamycin is also a commonly prescribed alternative for those allergic to penicillin. Your dentist will be sure to identify the right dose and duration of medication for your particular situation. Because over-prescription of antibiotics can sometimes lead to more resistant strains of bacteria, your dentist will also take antibiotic resistance into consideration when they prescribe your dose, as the ADA explains.

It’s important to take the full course of pills exactly as your dentist prescribes for the best outcome. Just remember, even if the pain resolves, you’ll likely still need further treatment to fully restore your tooth.

Untreated Sinus Infection Risks

Sinus infections often start to improve on their own after about 10 days. If your symptoms last longer without improving or if they worsen, a doctor may need to treat the underlying cause of the infection.

If a sinus infection affects a sinus cavity close to the brain, it can spread to the brain if left untreated. Though rare, an infection can also pass into the eye socket and cause vision changes or blindness. These types of infections are more common in kids.

While uncommon, a serious fungal sinus infection left untreated may pass into the bones.

Make an appointment with a doctor if you have severe symptoms, or if the following symptoms last longer than 10 days or keep coming back:

  • fever
  • congestion
  • facial pain

Because the cause of your sinus infection can affect your treatment options, its important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if youre looking for a doctor.

If you believe you have chronic or recurring sinusitis, consider asking for a referral to an otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose, and throat specialist. You may need imaging and other tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.

An ENT specialist can take a culture of nose drainage to better understand the cause of an infection. The ENT specialist can also examine the sinuses more closely and look for any problem in the structure of the nasal passages that could lead to chronic sinus problems.

A Simple Test Gives Fast Results

Only a rapid strep test or throat culture can determine if group A strep is the cause. A doctor cannot tell if someone has strep throat just by looking at his or her throat.

A rapid strep test involves swabbing the throat and running a test on the swab. The test quickly shows if group A strep is causing the illness. If the test is positive, doctors can prescribe antibiotics. If the test is negative, but a doctor still suspects strep throat, then the doctor can take a throat culture swab. A throat culture takes time to see if group A strep bacteria grow from the swab. While it takes more time, a throat culture sometimes finds infections that the rapid strep test misses. Culture is important to use in children and teens since they can get rheumatic fever from an untreated strep throat infection. For adults, it is usually not necessary to do a throat culture following a negative rapid strep test. Adults are generally not at risk of getting rheumatic fever following a strep throat infection.

Someone with strep throat should start feeling better in just a day or two after starting antibiotics. Call the doctor if you or your child are not feeling better after taking antibiotics for 48 hours.

You May Like: How Do I Get Rid Of Sinus Infection Without Antibiotics

When Children Need Themand When They Dont

If your child has a sore throat, cough, or runny nose, you might expect the doctor to prescribe antibiotics. But most of the time, children dont need antibiotics to treat a respiratory illness. In fact, antibiotics can do more harm than good. Heres why:

Antibiotics fight bacteria, not viruses.

If your child has a bacterial infection, antibiotics may help. But if your child has a virus, antibiotics will not help your child feel better or keep others from getting sick.

  • The common cold and flu are both viruses.
  • Chest colds are also usually caused by viruses.
  • Bronchiolitis is particular type of chest cold that often causes wheezing and can make young infants very sick. It is also caused by a virus.
  • Most sinus infections are caused by viruses. The symptoms are a lot of mucus in the nose and post-nasal drip.
  • Mucus that is colored does not necessarily mean your child has a bacterial infection.

Antibiotics do not help treat viruses and some infections.

The flu is always caused by a virus. For these cases, antibiotics may be needed. There are special medications that can be used in some cases to fight the flu virus. Sometimes infants and children get bacterial infections on top of the flu. When a child has BOTH the flu and a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be needed.

Sometimes bacteria can cause sinus infections, but even then the infection usually clears up on its own in a week or so. Many common ear infections also clear up on their own without antibiotics.


How Long Do Antibiotics Take To Work

Antibiotics in 2019: Everything You Need to Know

Antibiotics begin to work right after you start taking them. However, you might not feel better for two to three days.

How quickly you get better after antibiotic treatment varies. It also depends on the type of infection youre treating.

Most antibiotics should be taken for 7 to 14 days. In some cases, shorter treatments work just as well. Your doctor will decide the best length of treatment and correct antibiotic type for you.

Even though you might feel better after a few days of treatment, its best to finish the entire antibiotic regimen in order to fully resolve your infection. This can also help prevent antibiotic resistance. Dont stop your antibiotic early without first talking with your healthcare provider.

You May Like: Can You Take D Mannose With Antibiotics

Theres Been A Lot In The News About Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Should I Avoid Them

Quinolines are very powerful they have unique qualities that other antibiotics dont have, so we use them to treat rare infections, Fries said. Historically theyve been overprescribed for UTI and pneumonia. Theyve been given to elderly patients and others with risk factors, so over the years weve seen a lot of side effects.

They are associated with adverse effects ” rel=”nofollow”> such as Achilles tendon tears, hypoglycemia in diabetics , confusion and delirium, and an increased risk of Clostridioides difficile infection. In patients with high blood pressure, those with blockage of blood vessels and a history of aortic aneurysm, aortic rupture is a possible side effect and the FDA issued a warning last year about them.

Antibiotic stewardship programs in hospitals have focused on reducing the number of prescriptions, but recent studies show that theyre still being prescribed at discharge.

We are trying to scale them back, we tell people theyre not the first choice of intervention, Fries said. If you take them by mouth, you get the same level as if you have them intravenously. So thats one of the great things about them, and also one of the reasons theyre used so often.

Bacteria And Tooth Decay

To understand why your dentist might prescribe antibiotics for a toothache, you must first understand how bacteria contribute to tooth decay and toothaches. Without regular, twice-daily brushing with proper technique, the bacteria in your mouth can grow and turn the foods you eat into acid that then gets deposited on your teeth. This promotes cavity formation and tooth decay. As the American Dental Association explains, frequent sugar intake can especially fuel the bacteria that break down tooth structure. The type of bacteria that primarily cause cavities is Streptococcus mutans, as a study in PLOS ONE notes.

You May Like: Best Antibiotic For Streptococcus Pneumoniae

Common Toothache Causes And Treatments

When bacteria break down a tooth’s surface, forming a cavity, the inner chamber of the tooth becomes vulnerable. This inner chamber contains the nerves that supply your tooth with sensation. When bacteria reach this chamber, it can be painful and lead to more severe dental problems that may require antibiotic treatment.

There are many causes for a toothache, including cavities, inflamed pulp tissue and dental abscesses, according to Merck Manuals. Having a cavity in a tooth does not necessarily mean that you will need antibiotics. As the Mayo Clinic explains, cavities are often treated with fillings, or possibly crowns, based on how much of the tooth is infected. When a tooth infection reaches the nerve of the tooth, it may require a root canal and a protective cover to seal bacteria out of the tooth. Additionally, if a tooth is so broken down by a cavity that it can’t be repaired, the dentist may need to extract the tooth.

Is It Safe For Kids To Take Antibiotics

What you need to know about antibiotics

Just as antibiotics are safe for most adults, kids can also take antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. Its worth pointing out, though, that children are often mis-prescribed antibiotics for illnesses that are viral, not bacterial. When this happens, theres an increased risk of antibiotic resistance happening, which could prevent children from being effectively treated by antibiotics when they do have a bacterial infection.

Read Also: Best Antibiotic For Vaginal Infection

Do You Want All Of This Information As A Handy Cheat Sheet

We’ve covered a crap-ton of information here. Would you like us to simplify it for you?


We’ve created a super-handy antibiotic cheat sheet. It is the most comprehensive, yet easy to use reference that exists for antimicrobials. It includes antibiotics to treat the resistant organisms. It includes antibiotics that don’t need a renal adjustment. It includes body distributions and PK:PD dosing theories. It’s very handsome. You can hang it on your wall, or take it along in your notebook.

Do you want one?

It’s yours for FREE. Just click the button below and tell us where to send it.

What Are Antibiotic Stewardship Programs

While antibiotic overuse and resistance is a scary issue even the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control are warning about the associated dangers rest easy knowing that experts are taking serious steps toward correcting the problem. Antibiotic Stewardship Programs for hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities have been put into place.

The CDC says, Improving the use of antibiotics is an important patient safety and public health issue as well as a national priority. In 2009, CDC launched the first educational effort to promote improved use of antibiotics in acute care hospitals and in 2013 the CDC highlighted the need to improve antibiotic use as one of four key strategies required to address the problem of antibiotic resistance in the U.S. A growing body of evidence demonstrates that hospital-based programs dedicated to improving antibiotic use, commonly referred to as Antibiotic Stewardship Programs , can both optimize the treatment of infections and reduce adverse events associated with antibiotic use. These programs help clinicians improve the quality of patient care and improve patient safety through increased infection cure rates, reduced treatment failures, and increased frequency of correct prescribing for therapy and prophylaxis. They also significantly reduce hospital rates of…antibiotic resistance.

Also Check: How Do Bacteria Become Resistant To Antibiotics

Is My Infection Bacterial Or Viral

This distinction can be tricky, which is why it’s worth a visit to your healthcare provider to be evaluated. People with underlying lung problems or other chronic illnesses may be more prone to bacterial infections and should seek a professional opinion sooner rather than later.

Generally speaking, however, there are some ways bacterial and viral infections can be differentiated.

  • Most produce a wide variety of symptoms, such as a sore throat, sniffles, cough, and body aches

  • Usually abate after a week

  • Often cause a more focused area of discomfort, such as a severely painful ear or an extremely sore throat

  • Symptoms usually last for longer than 10 to 14 days

Viral illness that last more than 10 days or that grow suddenly worse after five to seven days may be signs that you have developed a secondary bacterial infection. While you did not require antibiotics for the initial viral infection, you will need them now.

Some of the signs used to be thought of as being suggestive of the presence of a bacterial infection, but this is no longer believed to be accurate.

Protect Yourself And Others

Know the facts about antibiotics

People can get strep throat more than once. Having strep throat does not protect someone from getting it again in the future. While there is no vaccine to prevent strep throat, there are things people can do to protect themselves and others.

Good Hygiene Helps Prevent Group A Strep Infections

The best way to keep from getting or spreading group A strep is to wash your hands often. This is especially important after coughing or sneezing and before preparing foods or eating. To practice good hygiene, you should:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Put your used tissue in the waste basket
  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands, if you dont have a tissue
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available

You should also wash glasses, utensils, and plates after someone who is sick uses them. These items are safe for others to use once washed.

Wash your hands often to help prevent germs from spreading.

Antibiotics Help Prevent Spreading the Infection to Others

People with strep throat should stay home from work, school, or daycare until they:

  • No longer have a fever
  • AND
  • Have taken antibiotics for at least 12 hours

Take the prescription exactly as the doctor says to. Dont stop taking the medicine, even if you or your child feel better, unless the doctor says to stop.

You May Like: How Long After Antibiotics Does Birth Control Work

Pain And Fever Without A Cough Are Common Signs And Symptoms

In general, strep throat is a mild infection, but it can be very painful. The most common symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Sore throat that can start very quickly
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Fever
  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Tiny, red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck

Other symptoms may include a headache, stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting especially in children. Someone with strep throat may also have a rash known as scarlet fever .

The following symptoms suggest a virus is the cause of the illness instead of strep throat:

  • Cough
  • Conjunctivitis

It usually takes two to five days for someone exposed to group A strep to become ill.

A sore throat that starts quickly, pain with swallowing, and fever are some of the common signs and symptoms of strep throat.

What Kind Of Coughdoes Need Antibiotics

Unlike acute bronchitis, pneumonia, which can also cause a long-term cough, may require antibiotic therapy. Pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi, and can also be a serious complication in patients with severe COVID-19. Pneumonia looks very similar to the flu, though, so youll have to see a doctor to find out whether you need antibiotics. . You can read more about the differences between COVID-19 and the flu here.

The presence of a fever may be a clue that your cough is either caused by the flu or pneumonia rather than acute bronchitis. Symptoms of the flu and pneumonia also include the following :

  • Body ache

Also Check: Is Cipro A Good Antibiotic For Uti

When To Take Them And When Not To

It boils down to the type of infection youre battling at any given time. Antibiotics are typically prescribed for strep throat, sexually transmitted diseases , ear infections, conjunctivitis, urinary tract infections , travelers diarrhea and upper respiratory tract infections.

The common cold, with symptoms that vary from a runny nose, congestion, cough and fatigue, can last anywhere from five to 14 days. Colds are viral infections and antibiotics wont help.

Article continues below

Powered by Contextual Related Posts

Acute bronchitis, with severe coughing and congestion, can last three weeks or longer, and antibiotics wont help.

A dry, annoying cough can last weeks, and it just takes time to go away. If it goes on for six weeks or more, then you should worry, said Jeffrey Linder, MD, chief of general internal medicine and geriatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

If its a sinus infection, the longer you have it, the more likely it is to be bacterial, and antibiotics will help, said Linder, who recently published a study on how only 13% of antibiotic prescriptions in outpatient settings are appropriate.

A sore throat warrants antibiotics only if its a strep infection, and your doctor will know when to test for it, and prescribe medicine only if you test positive.

With sinus, cough or cold, if the symptoms last longer than 14 days a secondary infection could set in and then its time to check in with the doctor.

Is A Covid Cough Continuous

Antibiotic Resistance – What You Need to Know

A persistent cough is widely known as one of the three ‘classic’ symptoms of COVID-19, along with fever and loss of smell, although only around four in ten people who are ill with COVID-19 will have a persistent cough. In this context, persistent means coughing many times a day, for half a day or more.

Read Also: Ophthalmic Antibiotic Drops For Dogs

Taking Unnecessary Antibiotics May Do More Harm Than Good

Heres the biggest problem with overusing antibiotics: Bacteria adapt.

Bacteria become resistant to drugs over time, making it harder to treat bacterial infections. In rare cases, this leads to deadly drug-resistant bacterial infections.

Drug-resistant bacteria make it harder to find effective drug options when you do face a severe infection, Dr. Allan says. When you are talking about large groups of people, this resistance can be dangerous, making it easier for an infection to spread.

Popular Articles
Related news