Whether common cold or cough, a minor toothache or a major surgery the first thing that we take, is an antibiotic. Antibiotics have become an indispensable part of our lives. No doubt they work wonders by keeping us up and running, during illness. But did you ever stop for a minute and think over the side effects of using them? Do they really have any side effects? Did you even know that they do not work for the flu, colds, coughs and sore throats? Let’s dig in a little deep.
What are antibiotics:
Antibiotics are medicines that help us in fighting bacteria. They function by killing the bacteria or inhibiting its growth and multiplication. As we are aware, they do come in different forms like tablets, capsules, external applicants like ointments, or IV for serious infections.
Antibiotics do not treat viral infections:
An important point to be noted is that they don’t work for viral infections. For instance, they are ineffective with respect to viruses that cause colds and running noses, even if the mucus is thick, yellow or green
They work only for bacterial infections like:
- Whooping cough – A cough that is dangerous among infants with symptoms like a running nose, nasal congestion and sneezing. It sounds like “whoop” and hence the name.
- Strep throat – A sore and scratchy sensation in your throat due to an infection. It is not an ordinary sore throat.
- UTI – Urinary Tract Infections
Misuse of antibiotics:
- It is not mandatory to use antibiotics for every bacterial infection. For e.g., Sinus infections or some ear infections might not need antibiotics as your body will get better on its own, in due course of time.
- Never overuse antibiotics. Because your body will develop resistance towards it. This means the infection will get stronger and henceforth the medicine taken will become ineffective. Antibiotic-resistance occurs even when the bacteria in your body undergoes changes or mutations. This is primarily because of repeated exposure to the same antibiotic. In that case, a difference in the medication is required.
- Misuse of antibiotics also happen when a person is prescribed with the wrong antibiotic or the wrong dosage or the wrong length of medication too.
- The quality of the medicine is also important. The regulations that govern the drug manufacturers have been tightened to uphold the quality of the medicines. Consult your doctor and not just a pharma company before consuming the antibiotic.
Side effects of wrong usage of antibiotics:
Misuse of antibiotics as stipulated above or taking antibiotics when they’re not needed can cause serious harm. The side effects can range from minor to serious ones as stated below:
- Upset stomach
- Fungal infections of the mouth, digestive tract, and vagina
Less common or more serious side effects can include:
- C. diff infection is an inflammation of the colon caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile. This might lead to severe colon damage and in certain cases death.
- Life-threatening allergic reactions
- Antibiotic-resistant infections
- Formation of kidney stones
- Abnormal blood clotting
- Blood disorders
Thus, before consuming any antibiotic please make sure to consult your doctor. Find out if you have a bacterial or a viral infection first. If you developed allergies all of a sudden, find out from your physician if it is a sign of antibiotic-resistance. Slowly adopt less harmful ayurvedic products or nutraceutical products for immunity and wellness to fight infections, especially in this pandemic. Last but not least, do not insist your physician, to prescribe an antibiotic unnecessarily.
Stay aware! Stay healthy!