Most people take antibiotics for multiple illnesses over the course of their lives. Usually, antibiotics help to combat the worst of infections. They are effective against numerous illnesses; one might be surprised when their doctor prescribes another type of medication. Antibiotics usually seem like the perfect treatment, but are they?
Are you in need of a family doctor? Contact Dr. Scarborough in Conroe, TX from Family Life Medical today.
It is fascinating how often illnesses are kept at bay by just taking antibiotics. It might appear that there’s nothing they cannot tackle. However, this powerful medication only works against specific illnesses. Here are some important facts about antibiotics.
- They are not useful for colds or flu
Although antibiotics are very powerful, they do not cure everything. Illnesses resulting from a virus cannot be treated with antibiotics. Such illnesses include the common cold, influenza, certain types of acute bronchitis, most ear infections, and non-strep sore throats.
- Antibiotics should only be consumed for bacterial infections
It is essential to note that antibiotics are meant for combating bacterial infections only. Using them for viral infections or viruses will not help, and it might actually lead to more harm than good. Consuming antibiotics when one does not need them puts him or her at risk for contracting antibiotic-resistant infections or harmful side effects.
- Side effects of antibiotics can be severe
Common side effects of taking antibiotics are severe diarrhea, difficulty breathing, resistance to antibiotics, allergic reactions, skin blistering, and swelling on the neck and throat. However, not everybody will experience each side effect of the drugs.
- There’s no single antibiotic for everything
When it comes to antibiotics, there’s no one size fits all. All infections are different, resulting from different kinds of bacteria and need different antibiotics. It is essential to pick the one best suited for one’s specific infection. Consuming the wrong type will not be as efficient and can lead to harmful side effects. That’s why it’s important to consult a family doctor to determine which antibiotic is the most effective for a certain illness.
- Antibiotics can weaken the immune system
Unfortunately, antibiotics fight all sorts of bacteria and can’t differentiate between the body’s useful bacteria and harmful bacteria. That means they kill some good bacteria the human body needs to keep infections at bay and maintain a robust immune system. Misuse and overuse of antibiotics will make a person more prone to reinfection and developing resistant bacteria.
- The risk of obesity goes up
Taking antibiotics disrupts the body’s balance of helpful and harmful bacteria in the gut. If the drugs permanently alter a person’s bacterial balance in the gut, this can lead to an increase in weight. Moreover, the antibiotics can alter hunger hormones leading to increased hunger.
- Consuming old antibiotics is not a good idea
After a sickness, many people save leftover antibiotics for later use. The thought behind this is that they never know when they are going to be ill again and perhaps these antibiotics could help if they do. However, different illnesses result from different bacteria. A person might assume that it will not cause any harm to consume an old antibiotic, but they risk becoming resistant to that specific antibiotic. That means that the drug might not work when they actually need it. There’s also the risk of suffering severe side effects as mentioned earlier.
Knowing the facts about antibiotics can help one to experience their full effectiveness. It is important to consult a doctor before taking any antibiotics. For more information on antibiotics, consult Dr. Scarborough in Conroe, Texas today.