Antibiotics are very useful medications, able to defend us from many bacteria and fungi. However, these drugs do not affect viruses, and when you have a viral infection, such as sore throat, common cold or flu, using antibiotics won’t solve your problem. In some cases, sore throat can be provoked by bacterial infection and you should always consult your doctor about this condition, because you may need antibiotics.
According to the type of bacteria they can fight against, we can differentiate antibiotics used to attack one specific type or broad spectrum drugs, useful against several bacteria. Your doctors may prescribe some oral antibiotics (pills) or antibiotic creams (or other topical preparations). There is also an option to get an injection or intravenous antibiotic, especially in the hospital environment.
You must use these medications exactly as they were prescribed to you, and for as long as your doctor told you to. Never take antibiotics prescribed to another person or give your prescription to anyone else, because that may cause serious adverse effects. Antibiotic abuse is also associated with the increased number of bacteria resistant to drugs, so that’s another reason why you shouldn’t use these medications unless your doctor prescribed them.
Mechanisms of Antibiotic Action
These drugs work by affecting the harmful microorganisms in human body. Bacteria or any other microorganism can enter our body, and start to multiply, leading to infections and diseases. How long you should take antibiotics for depends on the severity of the infection, and the treatment may last for a week and up to 4 weeks. During that time, antibiotics should affect the growth of microorganisms and cure the condition.
There are several modes of antibiotic action. These medications can inhibit the conversion of glucose to energy in bacterial cells, leaving them without the energy to live and multiply further. Also, antibiotics can interfere with the production of cell wall or other content of bacterial cells, or stop the multiplication of bacteria.
There are two types of antibiotics - the ones that stop multiplying of the bacterial cells, known as bacteriostatic drugs, and the other, called bactericide antibiotics, that kill the bacteria present in human body.
Adverse Effects of Antibiotics
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are the most common side effects during the use of antibiotic drugs. Patients can also experience different infections of the mouth and digestive tract cause by fungi, or rarely, hearing loss, sunlight sensitivity, blood problems, bowel inflammation or kidney stones.
Allergic reactions to antibiotics are also known. They might be characterized by the skin rash, but there is also severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylactic shock. This condition is potentially lethal and must be taken care of immediately by a medical professional.