Antibiotics: when they work and when they don’t

What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics are effective drugs that can cure some infectious diseases. However, if they are used incorrectly, antibiotics can do more harm than good. Knowing in which cases antibiotics are needed and in which cases they are not, you can protect yourself and your family.

Do antibiotics work against any infections?
No. They only work against infections caused by bacteria. They do not work against infectious diseases caused by viruses. In most cases, it is viruses that cause cough and sore throat.

What is “bacterial resistance”?

Usually antibiotics kill bacteria or stop their growth and reproduction. However, some bacteria have acquired resistance to certain antibiotics, so antibiotics do not work against them. Antibiotic resistance develops faster if antibiotics are used too often or incorrectly.

Infections caused by such bacteria can sometimes be cured with antibiotics, against which these bacteria have not acquired resistance. Such drugs should be administered intravenously in a medical facility. Infections caused by certain types of resistant bacteria are not treatable.

About the analysis for sensitivity to antibiotics

What can I do to help myself and my family?

Do not think that antibiotics will cure any disease. Do not use them if you have a cold or flu. Very often, the best thing you can do is to let a cold or flu pass by itself. Sometimes it can take 2 weeks or more. If your condition worsens after 2 weeks, call a doctor.

How do I know if I should take antibiotics?
The answer to this question depends on what causes your disease. Below you will find some basic instructions:

Colds and flu. These diseases are caused by viruses. They are not treated with antibiotics.

Cough and bronchitis. They are usually caused by viruses. However, if you have lung problems or a disease that lasts for a long time, it is quite possible that it is caused by bacteria. Your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics.

Sore throat. Most often it is caused by viruses, and antibiotic treatment is not required. However, acute pharyngitis (streptococcal inflammation of the throat) is caused by bacteria. Usually, before prescribing antibiotics for its treatment, it is necessary to take a swab from the throat and conduct a laboratory analysis.

Ear infections. There are many types of ear infections. To treat some of them (but not all!) antibiotics are needed.

Diseases of the sinuses of the nose. Antibiotics are always used to treat them. However, a stuffy nose, as well as yellow or green nasal mucus, does not necessarily mean that you need antibiotics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.