What You Need to Know About Antibiotics - Mantachie Rural Health Care, Inc.
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What You Need to Know About Antibiotics

What You Need to Know About Antibiotics

What You Need to Know About Antibiotics

Antibiotics are one of the most misunderstood types of medicine in the world. Many people misuse them simply because they don’t know any better. However, misusing these medications can result in serious consequences which is why the information in today’s blog is so important. Take a look at what you need to know about antibiotics.

What are antibiotics?

These medications stop bacterial infections. First discovered about a century ago during the 1920s, they advanced modern medicine forever. Surgeries became safer and doctors now cured bacterial infections many of which they considered deadly before the discovery.

Doctors prescribe two main types of antibiotics, broad-spectrum and narrow-spectrum. As the name suggests, broad-spectrum treats a wide range of infections while narrow-spectrum treats specific types of infection. The varying types of antibiotics are important reasons why you should never give someone else one of these medications which were prescribed for you.

Types of infections treated with antibiotics include:

  • Strep throat
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Dental infections
  • Skin infections
  • Whooping cough
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Bladder or kidney infections

You’ll notice that illnesses like stomach viruses and colds are not listed because these medications cannot treat viruses. In most cases, your provider will tell you to wait out the virus or prescribe an anti-viral drug if one is available for your particular infection.

These drugs can pose a number of side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. In rarer instances, antibiotics can result in hives, coughing, wheezing, or trouble breathing. These symptoms are signs of an allergy to the specific medication you are taking or they could also be a sign that you are allergic to more than one or all antibiotics. People with known allergies are especially at risk when given an antibiotic prescribed to someone else and they should never, ever take these medications except under the strict prescription and observation of their healthcare provider. 

Other Crucial Information

If you’re a woman on birth control, your healthcare provider should warn you to use other methods of contraception while taking an antibiotic. They can disrupt the effectiveness of your birth control medication. They can also cause vaginal yeast infections in some women.

Overuse of these medications is one of the most common ways people misuse these powerful medicines. Unfortunately, overuse can result in a sometimes deadly resistance to antibiotics. How does this happen? Over time, bacteria adapt and become “super bacteria” that are untreatable with medication. The best way to avoid overuse is to only take medications as your provider prescribes them. If your provider tells you you don’t need this type of medication, listen to them. 

Patient education is important to us and your health often depends on understanding basic health information like today’s details on antibiotics. One way you can increase your understanding of health information is to visit your healthcare provider each year for a primary care checkup. During this appointment, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about your health or general health information. To schedule your primary care appointment with us, click here.

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