Antibiotics - Consequences of an incorrect use


Consequences of an incorrect use

The overuse of antibiotics is one of the major global public health problems. Bacteria have developed defenses against them what has become increasingly more difficult to fight them.

All bacteria are bad

False. Many different types of bacteria live in the human body. Some do not cause any damage and others are beneficial (such as those that are part of the intestinal flora) helping to digestion and metabolism. There are bacteria that are harmful and others that do not cause problems in one habitat, but they are harmful in another. For example, Escherichia coli, in its most common strain, is present in every human-being and does not cause any damage, but if it goes into the urethra and the bladder, it can cause urinary infection. On the other hand, there are some body areas where it is normal the existence of bacteria, such as, in the skin, digestive system and upper respiratory tract, whereas there are others that must be sterile, such as blood, urine, lungs, cerebrospinal fluid and joint fluid.

Antibiotics fight the flu

False. Antibiotics are used to fight bacteria, not viruses (like flu), since they are microorganisms with completely different structures and behaviors. In addition to viruses and bacteria, the world of microorganisms is also composed by fungi and parasites. Nevertheless, each of them is different so, it is completely useless to attack the virus of the flu with antibiotics. This will just not end with the disease, it can also destroy bacteria needed by the body for its correct functioning. The consumption of unnecessary antibiotics may also cause the resistance of bacteria to them.

Antibiotics harm the teeth

It depends. An antibiotic treatment performed under medical prescription should not affect the teeth of an adult. However, some antibiotics can affect the children’s dentition in those cases where the antibiotic is given to a child or taken by a pregnant woman. If a child or pregnant woman needs to be treated with antibiotics, only a doctor will be able to determine the type of medication and the dosage in order to avoid that teeth or other parts of the body will be affected. The variables to determine the type of medication to be consume are multiple and require professional experience to evaluate them.

It is necessary to consume yogurt during an antibiotic treatment

It depends. Oral antibiotics may alter intestinal flora. For this reason, the consumption of yogurt helps to introduce useful bacteria into the body during the treatment. However, some antibiotics are neutralized with dairy products, while others are less absorbed if they are eaten with meals being recommended to be taken outside that schedule. For this reason, a doctor should recommend the type of diet to follow during the treatment, as well as the hours of consumption. These decisions are not a whim, they are a requirement for the patient’s improvement.

Injected antibiotics are more effective than oral antibiotics

False. Both are equally effective. When the doctor prescribes an antibiotic (injected or oral), it does so for reasons that have nothing to do with effectiveness. A person who is disabled to eat should receive an injected antibiotic. As well, there are medications that are neutralized by gastric juices. Therefore, the decision on how to deliver the antibiotic should be taken by a doctor.

More and more superbugs

True. This is one of the main concerns of the World Health Organization and the medical community. Superbugs consist on microorganisms with high resistance to antibiotics. For this reason, the best way to fight them is to avoid the abuse of antibiotics. Over the time, bacteria develop a defensive mechanism against antibiotics, which is also transmitted to their offspring and, even, to other species and strains of bacteria. Consequently, the best way to combat them is through hygiene and a precise use of antibiotics under doctor’s supervision. Something as simple as extending the use of antibiotics a couple of days beyond the doctor's instructions may be enough to make the bacteria develop resistance and become a sperbug. The main problem of these microorganisms is that, for some of them, there is no treatment available being, as a result, necessary to hospitalize the patient.

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