What do you really know about antibiotics? What illnesses do they help? And when do you really need them? We’ve got all your antibiotic answers.
What is an antibiotic? Antibiotics are a medicine made from an antimicrobial agent from a mold or bacterium that kills or slows growth of other bacteria. Common antibiotics include penicillin and streptomycin.
What do antibiotics help? Antibiotics treat certain infections caused by bacteria. These include strep throat, whooping cough and urinary tract infections. Some instances of sinus and middle ear infections can be helped with antibiotics. They don’t help with viruses, such as the flu or a cold.
What is antibiotic resistance? This resistance occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to kill them. Each time you take antibiotics, sensitive bacteria are killed, but resistant ones stay behind. Overuse of antibiotics leads to an increase in drug-resistant bacteria. Overusing and overprescribing of antibiotics threatens the usefulness of antibiotics.
Studies show that at least 30% of antibiotic courses prescribed in an outpatient setting are unnecessary, meaning the antibiotic wasn’t actually needed to treat the illness.
How do I know if I need an antibiotic or not? If you have a virus, you don’t need an antibiotic. Ask your doctor what else you can do to feel better while your body fights off the virus. Don’t take antibiotics unless prescribed. That means if you have leftover medicines, don’t take them when you’re feeling sick. They likely won’t help, and add an increased risk of antibiotic resistance.
How should I take antibiotics? Exactly as prescribed. Feeling better and still have pills left? Go ahead and finish them. The whole course is needed for the treatment. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor. Don’t ask for antibiotics – your doctor will know when you need them, and taking them unnecessarily isn’t good for you.
Content by Lockton Dunning Benefits with info from https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/index.html