Is It Always Necessary To Take Antibiotics For Bacterial Infection?
Bacterial Infections which were at one time were a nightmare for physicians due to scarcity of adequate antibiotics to manage the infections can now be treated easily with the innumerable and effective antibiotics that are available in the market. The question is which antibiotic should be used for which illness and also whether antibiotics are really necessary for treating bacterial infections. The answer to this is that it is not always necessary to administer antibiotics every time you suspect that you have an infection. Antibiotics should only be taken if the treating physician recommends utilizing one.
Caution needs to be maintained here and you should not self treat yourself with any over the counter antibiotic as it can lead to drug resistance and you may not even benefit from the medication but may increase the risk of aggravating the condition. If an individual is cautious in the first place then he or she may not even need to use an antibiotic.
Some of the basic ways to prevent use of antibiotics are:
Vaccinations: If you have a trip planned out of country or if you have seasonal illnesses then you can get vaccinated before you set off for your trip or just before the season in which you generally fall ill begins. This will not only prevent you from infections but will also prevent you from being on any type of antibiotics. Influenza and Traveler’s Diarrhea are the most common types of illnesses that people suffer from requiring trips to the emergency room and being on antibiotics.
Hygiene: Hygiene plays an important role in an individual staying healthy. Washing your hands before meals with a hand sanitizer is a must to keep the bacteria away as most of the bacteria infiltrate the body through our surroundings and items like clothes and kitchenware. Washing hands with a sanitizer helps to kill the bacteria before they enter the body and thus prevent you from needing an antibiotic.
Choosing The Right Antibiotic For A Bacterial Infection
In case if you get infected by a bacterial infection then the treating physician is the best person to prescribe you the antibiotics but the problem is to choose the best antibiotic for a bacterial infection. Before prescribing an antibiotic the physician considers the following:
Role of Antibiotics: The physician needs to consider the role of the antibiotic. Antibiotics are basically of two types. The first type of antibiotic is called Bactericidal meaning that it kills the bacteria the moment it encounters it. The second type of antibiotic is called Bacteriostatic which halts the multiplication of the bacteria and lets the immune system of the body deal with the bacteria. In some types of bacterial infections just halting the growth of the bacteria is sufficient enough as the body’s immune system takes care of the bacteria and treats the bacterial infection.
Type of Bacteria: The next thing that a physician considers before prescribing the patient antibiotics is the type of bacteria that is causing the infection. Once an individual is confirmed as having a bacterial infection then the next line of treatment is to identify the bacteria. Bacteria are also of two types of which one is Gram-Positive bacteria which have thick layers and the second type is the Gram Negative Bacteria which has an extra layer of fat in it which acts as a barrier to many antibiotics and protects the bacteria. Once the type of bacteria is identified as gram positive or gram negative then antibiotics which attack the external structures of the bacteria are prescribed which damage the bacteria enough that it becomes easier for the immune system to destroy the bacteria and treat the bacterial infection.
Target of Antibiotic: The third aspect to consider before prescribing an antibiotic is what part of the bacteria does the antibiotic targets. Antibiotics like penicillin and other medications that come under its class target the formation of the bacteria and target the external layer of the bacteria. Other classes of antibiotics target other important areas of the bacteria preventing it from growing and thus treat the bacterial infection.
Application: Depending on the type of infection, the precise antibiotic is prescribed. For example for a bacterial eye infection antibiotic in the form of eyedrops will be prescribed. Infections that are caused by cuts and crapes are treated with topical forms of antibiotics. Other form of bacterial infections like urinary tract infections, C. difficile and the like are treated with oral antibiotics.
Length of Treatment: The duration of taking the antibiotic is an important aspect of treating bacterial infections with antibiotics. If the duration of treatment is inappropriate then the bacteria may not completely be eliminated from the body and may start to grow once again when the treatment stops which may cause recurrent infections. The bacteria may even become antibiotic resistent if appropriate amount of antibiotic is not given making it that much more difficult to treat a bacterial infection with antibiotics.
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