Whether you are sneezing, coughing and have a stuffy head from a cold or have a urinary tract infection-being sick is never a fun experience. It’s common for people to think that taking antibiotics is the solution to a quick relief from the symptoms of colds, upper respiratory infections and even allergies. Unfortunately, when it comes to certain illnesses, antibiotics may not be the solution to the problem, in fact, taking them unnecessarily may cause more harm than good.
Antibiotics Aren’t Always the Answer
Many people assume that antibiotics work effectively against colds; however, antibiotics fight bacterial infections, but they will not work against viral infections-a cold is a viral infection, so they are not effective against the common cold or the flu. When visiting the doctor, it is important to be as specific as possible about the symptoms you are having so the doctor can determine if your symptoms or bacterial or viral. For example, symptoms such as a high fever, facial pain and nasal discharge may be the indication of a bacterial sinus infection. Keep in mind that not all infections are bacterial, so the treatment isn’t always antibiotics. Sometimes allowing your body to fight off a virus is the best course of action.
More Harm than Good
Taking antibiotics unnecessarily may actually do more harm than good. One of the biggest problems with the overuse of antibiotics is that bacteria become resistant to the drug over time, which makes it much harder to treat them. In some cases (rare) overuse of antibiotics may lead to life-threatening drug-resistant bacterial infections.
Not All Antibiotics Are the Same
If you take the wrong medications, antibiotics included, it will not be effective. For example, the antibiotics that are often prescribed for a urinary tract infection are not the same as the ones that may be prescribed for strep throat. Although in most situations, the side effects of antibiotics are fairly benign; in some situations using the wrong or inappropriate antibiotics may also lead to unwanted and unpleasant side effects. For example, taking a broad-spectrum (typically hospital used) for a long-period of time may increase your risk of getting C-diff, which is a serious and hard-to treat infection.
One of the most important things to remember is that you should never save and use left-over antibiotics. Antibiotics are generally prescribed with instructions to take them until they are gone, not until your symptoms are relieved, which means there should not be any left to “save for later”. Also, different antibiotics treat different types of bacterial infections, so it cannot be assumed that leftover medication will work and taking the wrong medication may increase your risk of side effects. Keep in mind that this new information should not deter you away from taking antibiotics when they are prescribed. Aubrey Pharmacy simply wants you to be as informed as possible when it comes to antibiotics.