Antibiotics are drugs that are used to kill harmful microorganisms which cause infections in the body.
Unfortunately, antibiotics are commonly misused and abused by a lot of people such as for treating mild diarrhea and viral coughs. Some people even believe antibiotics can be used as a form of contraceptive!
Before an antibiotic can be used, the symptoms of an infection should have be confirmed by a doctor and a prescription written to be filled in a pharmacy.
What are antibiotics effective for?
Antibiotics are used for treating infections caused ONLY by bacteria. It should be noted that infections can be caused by other microorganisms other than bacteria such as fungi and viruses. In fact, antibiotics should not be used for common bacterial infections. This means that it should only be used for infections as prescribed by the doctor. Using antibiotics for viral infections or for fungal infections is improper antibiotic stewardship and is one of the ways by which antibiotics are abused.
Six mistakes you’re making with antibiotics and why you should stop
You might think you take antibiotics the right way but I can bet you’re making some of these mistakes!
Mistake One: Taking Antibiotics without the doctor’s recommendation.
I bet we’ve all been guilty of this mistake at some point or the other.
“It’s the same thing the doctor prescribed for me the last time I had this same problem, that means it will work for me now”
This is not true in all cases. Sometimes you require a different set of antibiotics or another type of drug entirely. Using antibiotics like this might provide some measure of relief but if it’s not appropriately used it could cause antibiotic resistance. This is why you should only consult your doctor instead of the local ‘chemist’ or ‘drug dispensary’, Many times, these people are not qualified to prescribe drugs properly.
Mistake Two: Not taking the right dosage of antibiotics
This has to be the most common mistake usually made when taking antibiotics.
Another factor is that most people start to feel better within a few days of taking antibiotics. This is why most people stop taking them before they complete their dosage. Missing doses is another costly mistake; this could be, taking your drugs twice a day instead of three times a day or missing a complete day’s dose. These practices may lead to a lack of total clearance of the infection. It may also reduce the effectiveness of the drug when used another time.
Mistake Three: Drinking alcohol while using your antibiotics.
Alcohol and medications are not a good combination. Alcohol and antibiotics in particular are a bad combination! Drinking alcohol can interfere with the potency of the medication. It can also lead to very bad adverse effects such as Disulfiram reaction that is severe vomiting, abdominal discomfort and headache which occurs when alcohol is taken with some medications such as Metronidazole (Flagyl). Alcohol will also impair normal bodily functions as well; dehydration which is a common side effect of alcohol use can reduce the drug’s effect.
Mistake Four: Using someone else’s medication
Taking medical advice from friends, family members or partners that are not medical professionals might do more harm than good in the long run. Going as far as taking their medications just because it was prescribed for them when they had a similar infection can be very harmful. You might be resistant to an antibiotic that was prescribed for someone else, for instance, severe anaphylactic reaction could occur if you’re penicillin resistant and use penicillin just because it was prescribed for someone else.
Mistake Five: Ignoring the side effects of your antibiotics
Some common side effects of some antibiotics include nausea, vomiting, itching, rashes, difficulty in breathing and so on. The right thing to do is to tell your doctor as soon as possible if you notice any side effects from your medication. Your doctor will most likely switch the drugs to something better. This is because side effects may impair the effectiveness of the drugs and even be harmful to you as you keep using the drugs.
Mistake Six: Not reading the drug leaflets in your antibiotics
The instruction manuals that come with your antibiotics should not be ignored or thrown aside without reading them. These manuals contain helpful information about how to use the medication as well as the foods and drinks you should not take together with the antibiotic. It also tells you if you’re to take the drugs with food or without food. There are some antibiotics that do not work well with milk and other dairy products. There are some that should be taken before food while others should be taken after food. Only the drug manual can give you this information.
Which of these mistakes have you made before? Let’s hear it in the comments section! Don’t forget to share this post with your social network so everyone can learn!