For those who tend to pop in antibiotics without a second thought or without consulting doctors, this should come as an eye-opener. Antibiotics can have side effects, mild and severe to life threatening as well.I have found antibiotics are very rarely needed, and most often they are very harmful," global nutrition and lifestyle consultant Dr Lawrence Wilson had said once. In a research done in India, it was found that doctors prescribe antibiotics at an incredible rate; obstetricians and gynaecologists wrote 2,645,000 antibiotic prescriptions every week. It is not to suggest that it should never be used because they can be lifesaving. But doctors also admit the fact that antibiotics are over prescribed and toxic, creating many subtle problems that are worse than the original condition. Dr A K Bali, consultant, Internal Medicine, Moolchand Medcity, explains what exactly are antibiotics in an easy way. "Antibiotics are effective against bacterial diseases.
However, antibiotics are ineffective against viruses and cannot cure viral infections and diseases, so they do not help fight against most colds and flu. Antibiotics help to cure common diseases like throat and ear infections."Antibiotics should always be taken after consultation with a doctor and the complete dose prescribed must be taken to avoid recurrence of the infection. "It is often seen that people discontinue using antibiotics the moment they start feeling better, but all the bacteria do not get killed if the complete dose is not taken and the infection might recur," adds Dr Bali. Proper dosage of antibiotics is very important taken more than required or less than prescribed, both ways can have ill effects on the body. "Different antibiotics are used to destroy different bacteria and if the right antibiotic is not taken further complications could arise.
So, one should be extra careful while taking antibiotics. It is commonly seen that people end up using antibiotics without consulting a doctor. This is often seen in cases where a person had a similar infection earlier and had taken the same antibiotics when similar symptoms occur. This should be avoided," adds Dr Bali.
Side effects Antibiotics can have side effects; they can vary from mild to life threatening, depending upon the antibiotics. "The side-effects can be frequent loose motion, vomiting, skin allergies, effects liver and kidney, gastric irritation, gastric bleeding and so on. In most of the infections, one should use antibiotics for 5-7 days except for some bacterial infections which require medication for 2-3 weeks," says Dr Bali.Antibiotics hinder the effectiveness of other medications and might cause allergic reactions. If antibiotics are taken when one is going through another medication, the effect of the medication would not be optimal.
Antibiotics have the ability to destroy most bacteria sensitive to them and at times useful bacteria also get killed along with the ones causing the infection. This could lead to serious bacterial imbalance in a human body.Unnecessary intake of antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance in the human body. Bacteria have the ability to get immune to antibiotics and sometimes some bacteria that manage to survive antibiotics for some reason become antibiotic resistant and their number increases rapidly. So, it takes longer for a body to heal from bacterial infections.
MYTHS ABOUT ANTIBIOTICS
Myth 1. Antibiotics are responsible for the decline in infectious disease. The truth is that antibiotics are helpful for many infections. However, antibiotics have not resulted in the elimination of infectious diseases by themselves."In fact, we now have antibiotic-resistant diseases that are much more difficult to treat as a direct result of the use of antibiotics such as certain strains of gonorrhea and tuberculosis, as well as many others that are less known," adds Dr PK Sharma, private practitioner.
Myth 2. Antibiotics are useful against colds and flu. "In truth, antibiotics are only helpful for bacterial infections. However, many physicians continue to prescribe them for viral conditions such as colds and flu. In some cases they can worsen the situation and prolong recovery.
Myth 3. Antibiotics are harmless. "This is the most insidious myth. It leads to over-prescribing by physicians sometimes. Meanwhile, safer methods of avoiding and treating infections are ignored on the basis that the antibiotics will take care of everything," adds Dr Sharma.
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