There is a great relief during your illness when you know that your disease will surely be eradicated if you take a proper course of antibiotics. Medicines, especially, antibiotics have a very important place in our lives. One cannot go through illness without taking a proper dose of antibiotics. Antibiotics are powerful medicines that fight certain infections and save lives of many. They either fully destroy the bacteria or inhibit their production but not virus. Antibiotics are not efficient when it comes to viral infections, such as cold, flu, etc. They may make you sicker in the future. (Also Read: 9 Doctor-Approved Home Remedies for Dry Cough )
Most people make serious mistakes by taking antibiotics without consulting a doctor. This could lead to serious problems. The wrong antibiotic can react in adverse and help a bacteria to become more powerful.
Types of antibiotics
Here are the types of antibiotics:
Used to treat a wide variety of infections including urinary tract infections, chest infections and even skin infections.
It can be used for a wide range of infections but especially used for meningitis and septicemia.
These have a specialty against lung and chest infections. They can also act as a substitute for penicillin for people who have an allergy to penicillin.
They can cause serious side effects if not taken properly or without prescriptions. They are specially used for the treatment of serious diseases, as the likes of septicemia. One can be very sensitive to it so they are generally given in the form of injections.
They also have a large spectrum and can be used for a wide range of infections, but they are particularly used to treat severe acne and rosacea.
These are antibiotics that have a very broad spectrum and can be used to cure a great variety of infections. For example, lipopeptide, sulfonamides, polypeptides, carbapenems.
Survey and Statistics on OTC Use of Antibiotics
People, especially in India, have developed a very bad habit of pre-buying antibiotics so that they don’t have to wait in lines or get costly appointments with doctors when they need medicine. Taking antibiotics without a doctor’s supervision can often go wrong and cause the bacteria to become more powerful.
If the non-prescription antibiotics taken do not cause the bacteria to become more powerful, it can surely help the bacteria to become resistant towards it. Its scientific term is antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Sometimes through mutation, the bacteria develop the ability to survive against the antibiotic’s action. Antimicrobial resistance can make it very difficult for the doctors to treat the infection, sometimes also leading to the patient’s death.
Antimicrobial resistance is also considered one of the top 10 global health threats by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“WHO conducted a survey in 2015, which showed that around 75% of the people from almost four countries, including India, reportedly consumed antibiotics within the last 6 months.”
Antimicrobial resistance, most common in pathogens like pneumonia, E. Koli was about 50%. People generally think that diseases like cold and flu can be best treated by antibiotics, but the fact is that antibiotics have no effect on those illnesses. This helps in the process of antimicrobial resistance and makes the situation even worse.
How Antibiotics Works?
There are some antibiotics that kill bacterial infections and germs. Some of them stop these bacteria from multiplying. Therefore, do not be surprised if the doctor does not prescribe you antibiotics for non-bacterial infection or virus infections.
Side-effects of Over-the-counter use of Antibiotics
It can lead to both common and severe side effects
- Fungal infections- Antibiotics are designed to kill harmful bacteria, but if they are taken without consulting a doctor and if the person doesn’t have the knowledge about it, it can also kill the good bacteria which helps you find the fungal infection. Even if you have taken antibiotics without a doctor’s supervision and face symptoms like itchiness, swelling, burning like sensations, you should immediately visit a doctor.
- Early deaths- Prolonged use of antibiotics can also lead to death. Overdose of antibiotics can lead to severe heart issues and cancer. It is more common in women than in men.
- Digestive problems- These are some of the common results of the misuse of antibiotics. Generally, it goes away when one stops taking the antibiotics. But it may also show severe symptoms like blood or mucus in stool, excessive diarrhea, vomiting or fever. (Also Read: Common Digestive Conditions from Top to Bottom)
- Allergic reaction– Shortness of breath, hives, swelling of lips or face, white patches on the skin, itching and many more.
- Teeth staining- This generally happens with the overuse or misuse of the antibiotic known as tetracycline. It stains the teeth enamel and the effect is irreversible. It can also happen to the bones.
- Other medicines- If a person is negligent enough to mix other medicines with antibiotics without proper insights, it can cause serious problems. This includes various types of medicines like birth control medications, steroids, antifungals, muscle relaxants, medicines relating to diabetes, etc.
Therefore, over the counter use of antibiotics can prove to be very harmful and even fatal.
As we have seen, different antibiotics have different functions. Even doctors prescribe medicines to their patients based on the proper analysis of the symptoms, diagnosis and experience. A chemist might often fail to understand the cause of the disease. It is also essential to take the full course of antibiotics if it is not so the bacteria has the ability to hide and will show up again when you stop taking the antibiotics. If you consume antibiotics, it is important to complete the entire course of the medication, failing which the bacteria tends to show up and make you fall sick again. Even if you have the slightest illness, it is strongly advised that you consult a doctor. Without the doctor’s supervision, you can develop antimicrobial resistance which will further help the bacteria to prosper.
Only doctors and medical professionals have proper knowledge regarding what quantity of which particular salt has to be given to the patient as per the severity of the infection or disease. Taking medicines blindly on your own can be hazardous to your health and organs. Once we see an easy way, we tend to go for it again and again. The same goes for over-the-counter antibiotics consumption. Taking any kind of antibiotic without proper knowledge of salts and content can bring you serious health troubles sooner or later.
“Be vigilant and smart about your health!”