What Is An Antibiotic
What exactly is an antibiotic? Antibiotics definition: A drug used to treat bacterial infections. When antibiotics first came on the scene, they consisted of naturally derived substances made from a microorganism to selectively inhibit the growth of other microorganisms. Penicillin, discovered in 1926, is a perfect example. The fungi-produced antibiotic inhibited certain types of harmful bacteria. Nowadays, we have many more antibiotics on the market and a lot of them are synthetic or manmade.
Wondering about the top 10 antibiotics and their uses? Some of the most commonly used generic antibiotics include:
Some of the most common uses of antibiotics include the treatment of acne, bronchitis, conjunctivitis , ear infections, sexually transmitted diseases, skin infections, strep throat, travelers diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections and urinary tract infections.
Its important to note that antibiotics have zero effect on viral infections which is why they should never be used for them. Examples of viral infections in which people wrongly choose to use antibiotics? The common cold or influenza. Some people also take antibiotics for throat infection, but that should never be recommended unless its a bacteria throat infection such as strep. As the CDC points out: Most sore throats will go away on their own without antibiotics.
What Are Resistant Bacteria
Each time you take an antibiotic, bacteria are killed. Sometimes, bacteria causing infections are already resistant to prescribed antibiotics. Bacteria may also become resistant during treatment of an infection. Resistant bacteria do not respond to the antibiotics and continue to cause infection. A common misconception is that a person’s body becomes resistant to specific medicines. However, it is the bacteria, not people, that become resistant to the medicines.
Each time you take or give your child an antibiotic unnecessarily or improperly, you increase the chance of developing medicine-resistant bacteria. Therefore, it is critically important to take antibiotics only when necessary. Because of these resistant bacteria, some diseases that used to be easy to treat are now becoming nearly impossible to treat.
Bacteria can develop resistance to certain medicines:
What Are Antibiotics And How Are They Used
Antibiotics are powerful drugs that are used to fight infections. Your healthcare team thinks you or your loved one might have an infection that can be treated with an antibiotic.
Not all infections are treated with antibiotics. While antibiotics may be effective against infections caused by bacteria , they are not effective against viruses.
Like all drugs, antibiotics can have side effects and should be used only when necessary. Taking an antibiotic you dont need can even be harmful. Because of this, there are important things to know about antibiotics.
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Avoid Grapefruit Excess Calcium And Alcohol
Lets quickly go through all three one by one. First, grapefruit contains compounds called furanocoumarins, which can interfere with how your liver and intestines break down and use medicines and filter out toxins. And when your body doesnt metabolize and absorb antibiotics as its supposed to, you may get a much higher or more potent dose of the medication.
On the other hand, the opposite can happen if you overdo it on calcium while taking antibiotics such as if you take calcium supplements at the same time that you take antibiotics. The bone-friendly mineral can bind to certain antibiotics, preventing them from being absorbed and lessening their effects. Be sure your prescribing physician knows if you take supplements he or she may recommend taking them several hours before you take your medication.
Finally, alcohol can trigger reactions or increase side effects of certain antibiotics, including an upset stomach or nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, and headache. Drinking also can leave you dehydrated and impact sleep, making it harder for your body to help the antibiotics fight off infection. Its best to avoid happy hour altogether until your course of antibiotics is behind you.
Ask Your Doctor About Medication Best Practices
Different antibiotics require different protocols for how or when to take them. For example, some may work most effectively and safely when taken with food others may need to be taken on an empty stomach and only with water.
Also, let your doctor know what other medications you take to avoid possible interactions. For example, antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. So make sure to read the labels, ask questions, and follow directions carefully.
That includes finishing the entire course of treatment yes, even if you start feeling better, which typically happens after a few days. Stopping medication mid-treatment or skipping pills could cause bacteria to become resistant and might lead you to get sick again or be sicker, longer. Bacteria turn over a generation every 30 minutes, so they can quickly adapt, Dr. Rawls says. Following the directed usage exactly is crucial.
Antibiotics are a pretty amazing medical discovery, and they can offer life-saving benefits. But like most things in life, theyre not perfect, and theyre not without consequences. Use the tips above, and you can sidestep a lot of the unwanted side effects. And as always, dont forget to consult with your doctor about anything involving medications you might be taking.
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Consume Fermented Foods While Taking Antibiotics
Many fermented foods contain probiotics and can help to restore normal gut flora that has been disrupted by antibiotics. Here are a few of the best probiotic-foods.
Yogurt. You can eat raw yogurt when taking antibiotics because it contains strains of healthy bacteria. One study found that people who consume yogurt have more Bifidobacterium in their gut. Other studies have shown that raw yogurt containing Lactobacillus casei can positively influence gastrointestinal health. Yogurt is also one of the best foods for treating yeast infection.
Some studies seem to indicate that calcium-enriched foods may inhibit the absorption of certain medications. However, this has not been proved with calcium-rich dairy products when taking moxifloxacin.
Kefir. This is a fermented milk drink that contains many types of good gut bacteria. Several studies have shown that kefir has antimicrobial, antitumor and anticarcinogenic activity. Consuming kefir can also boost your immune system and improve lactose digestion.
Kimchi. Another probiotic food you can take after antibiotics is kimchi. Kimchi is made by fermenting vegetables with probiotic lactic acid bacteria. Studies have shown that kimchi contains probiotic properties that have a positive effect on your gut health and immune system.
How Well Do Antibiotics Work To Treat A Sore Throat
Antibiotics don’t work at all for a sore throat caused by a virus. These kinds of sore throats usually go away on their own in 4 to 5 days.
If you have strep throatwhich is caused by bacteriayour doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, such as penicillin. But strep throat goes away on its own in 3 to 7 days with or without antibiotics.
Antibiotics may not make you well faster. But they may shorten the time you are able to spread strep throat to others by a day or so.
Antibiotics may also lower the risk of a bacterial infection spreading to other parts of your body, such as your ears and sinuses. They can also prevent serious but rare problems such as rheumatic fever in children.
Antibiotics may cause side effects, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and skin rashes.
Besides side effects, there are other good reasons not to use antibiotics unless you really need them.
- Antibiotics cost money.
- You will probably have to see the doctor to get a prescription. This costs you time.
- If you take antibiotics when you don’t need them, they may not work when you do need them. Each time you take antibiotics, you are more likely to carry some bacteria that were not killed by the medicine. Over time, these bacteria get tougher and can cause longer and more serious infections. To treat them, you may need different, stronger, and more costly antibiotics.
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Natural Antibiotic Alternative #9turmeric
This bright orange spice, commonly used in Indian cuisine, is good for just about everything you can think of that would normally require a trip to the hospital and the consumption of harmful antibiotics.
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Research shows turmeric reduces liver toxicity, boosts the gallbladders performance, helps metabolize fat and reduce bad cholesterol, and may slow the progression of Alzheimers disease .
Turmerics active ingredient, curcumin, has been shown to treat osteoarthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, gallstones, and has even shown promise in treating HIV/AIDS.
Curcumin has been shown to inhibit HIV integrase, the enzyme that integrates a double-stranded DNA copy of the RNA genome, synthesized by reverse transcriptase into a host chromosome .
It is an effective anti-inflammatory, which makes it effective in treating psoriasis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and sports injuries.
Add it to recipes, make it into tea, or brush your teeth with a combination of turmeric and coconut oil to whiten and fortify your teeth. You can also add honey and hot water to help soothe symptoms of the common cold .
Antibiotic Resistance And Superbugs
Antibiotics alter the course of life-threatening infections, decreasing mortality and loss of organs or limbs. However, each time a person uses an antibiotic for treatment, the chances of developing resistant bacterial strains increase, and these might eventually develop into superbugs. The term superbug refers to any microorganisms that have become resistant to treatment with common anti-infective agents that were previously effective against them. Although superbugs have been more of an issue in hospitals, there are increasing outbreaks within community environments. The best thing you can do is to take your antibiotic medication exactly as your physician has instructed the correct dose and for the complete duration of the prescription, even if you are feeling better midway through treatment. This is very important. Stopping your antibiotic treatment midway through the course, or taking only a portion of the doses, even though symptoms of the infection have disappeared, dramatically increases the risk of developing resistance by bacteria.
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What Is An Infection
Infections are caused by germs. They are often found on the things we touch and can be passed from others if the germs come into contact with our nose, mouth or eyes. Two common types of germs are viruses and bacteria:
- Infections most commonly caused by viruses include colds and influenza , and some ear infections.
- Infections caused by bacteria include strep throat, bladder and skin infections, and some ear infections.
What Will Replace Our Failing Antibiotics
Antibiotics are medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Some types of bacteria have evolved the ability to surviveor be resistant toantibiotics. Scientists across the world are on an urgent hunt for new treatments to help fight infections before the antibiotics we use today become obsolete.
Researchers have found potential replacements for antibiotics in nature. The big challenge is getting these exciting discoveries out of the lab and into hospitals.
Recent improvements in biotechnology, genetic engineering and synthetic chemistry have opened new avenues of research for innovative therapies to solve our growing problem.
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How To Use Manuka Honey
Primary Uses: Skin or oral infections , general immune booster.
Manuka honey is primarily used topically .
But since its honey, you can also eat it to give your immune system a boost. Its the most delicious way to fight infection.
- Skin Infections: Take a small dab and lather the honey on the infected area. Cover with gauze or a band aid.
- Internal Immune Boost: If you notice people around you are getting sick or you recently caught a cold, you can take a tsp 1-2 times per day. This can help prevent you from getting sick in the first place or reduce the duration of your illness. I like to combine manuka honey with ginger and cinnamon to make it even more powerful.
I just wouldnt suggest eating it every day for long periods of time since it would get expensive. Manuka honey is more medicine than food. Treat it like something you would put in your medicine cabinet.
Natural Antibiotic Alternative #8cayenne Pepper
If you like spicy food and suffer from asthma, joint and muscle pain, diabetes, psoriasis, or have a cut/scrape, youre in luck. Cayenne pepper is good for treating all of those issues.
The bright red fruit of the plant contains an ingredient called capsaicin, which has been found to deplete nerve cells of a chemical that helps transmit pain messages .
Capsaicin is also shown to block the small nerve fibers that transmit the pain people with diabetes suffer from. Topically applied capsaicin has been shown to be of considerable benefit in relieving the pain of diabetic neuropathy .
Capsaicin in cayenne pepper is also effective in getting rid of inflammation, which can help treat psoriasis, and helps to desensitize airway mucosa to various mechanical and chemical irritants, which makes it effective in preventing asthma attacks .
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Natural Antibiotic Alternative #12grapefruit Seed Extract
Need to treat a nasty wart? Grapefruit seed extract is your natural remedy.
The Herbal Drugstore lists acne, canker sores, cuts and scrapes, diarrhea, ear infections, and fungal skin infections as treatable by grapefruit seed extract.
Grapefruit seed extract is a powerful antibiotic: In one study, drops of concentrated grapefruit-seed extract were tested for antibacterial properties against a number of gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. The researchers concluded that GSE was comparable to proven topical antibacterials. Although the GSE appeared to have a somewhat greater inhibitory effect on gram-positive organisms than on gram-negative organisms, its comparative effectiveness against a wide range of bacterial biotypes is significant.
Grapefruit seed extract can also help combat fatigue.
Which Bacteria Are Resistant To Antibiotics And Why Are They Dangerous
Strains of Streptococcus and Staphylococcus are often resistant to . One example is called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus . Staphylococci can be found on skin and mucous membranes and may cause infection for example if they get into open wounds.
Resistant strains have now developed in other types of , such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella and pseudomonads.
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What You Can Do To Feel Better
- Ask your healthcare professional about the best way to feel better while your body fights off the virus.
- If you need antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
- Talk with your healthcare professional if you develop any side effects, especially severe diarrhea, since that could be a C. diff. infection, which needs to be treated immediately.
- Do your best to stay healthy and keep others healthy:
- Clean hands by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Stay home when sick
- Get recommended vaccines, such as the flu vaccine.
To learn more about antibiotic resistance, visit CDCs Antibiotic Resistance website.
What Are Antibiotics Used To Treat
Antibiotics are used for treating infections caused by bacteria. Sometimes its difficult to determine if your infection is caused by bacteria or a virus because the symptoms are often very similar.
Your healthcare provider will evaluate your symptoms and conduct a physical exam to determine the cause of your infection. In some cases, they may request a blood or urine test to confirm the cause of infection.
Some common bacterial infections include:
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Can I Get A Vaccine While Im On Antibiotics
Yes, although you might want to wait a few days.
If youre taking antibiotics for an illness and youre scheduled to get a vaccine, you can still get it. But, if youve got some flexibility in your schedule, it might make sense to delay the vaccine a little bit. Thats because vaccines can trigger a fever, body aches, or chills, and thats probably not what you need if youre already feeling lousy.
Plus, theres a chance those vaccine side effects could make things confusing. If you get a fever from the vaccine while youre taking antibiotics, you might wonder whether the antibiotics are working. It could be hard to tell whether youre recovering from your illness the way you should.
That said, getting a vaccine while youre on antibiotics isnt dangerous. The vaccine will still do its job, and so will the antibiotics.
Do I Need A Prescription For Antibiotics
There are many topical antibiotic creams used for minor cuts, scrapes and burns that do not require a prescription. If you are looking for oral antibiotics you will need a prescription from a doctor.
Oral antibiotics are prescribed to either treat or prevent an infection. If being used to prevent infection, once it is clear that there is no infection, the antibiotic should be discontinued as directed by your physician
However, if a known source of infection is confirmed, then antibiotic treatment should be completed for the full course of antibiotic therapy.
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Sometimes It Can Be Stopped
Antibiotics are strong drugs. They fight the infections caused by bacteria. But antibiotics can do more harm than good if you dont need them. So the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now urging hospitals to cut back on the drugs when they are not needed. Heres what you should know.
You might get antibiotics when you check in to the hospital.
This can happen if you have an infection that may be serious, like pneumonia. Your doctor wants to treat you right away, even before you can get test results.
Your doctor may give you more than one antibiotic. Or you may get a broad-spectrum antibiotic that kills many types of bacteria.
Doctors should review your drugs after test results are in.
Your test results usually come on your third day in the hospital. At this point the doctor should review your drugs:
If test results dont show an infection, and youre doing well, usually the doctor can stop the antibiotics.
If the tests do show an infection, the doctor can often reduce treatment to a single antibiotic. Or the doctor may switch you to a narrow-spectrum antibiotic, which kills just one type of bacteria.
Reducing your antibiotics is called de-escalation. It can improve your treatment. It also helps to prevent antibiotic overuse.
Antibiotic overuse causes resistance.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics are more likely to lead to bacteria that resist drugs. This leads to infections that last longer and cost more to treat. They can spread to family and friends.