Since the Second World War, antibiotics have been used to help humans treat infections. Unfortunately, misconceptions about antibiotics have led to unnecessary prescribing by health care professionals and misuse by the public. Although antibiotics are safe and used correctly by most people, they are still powerful drugs that are commonly misunderstood. Here’s what you should know about them.
1) Antibiotics do not work on viruses
Many people group viruses and bacteria into the same category, but the reality is that they are very different. Although antibiotics are very powerful, they don’t work for everything. They won’t help against illnesses caused by a virus, such as the common cold, flu, non-strep sore throats, and chicken pox.
2) They should only be taken for bacterial infections
Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria, effectively fighting bacterial infections only. Some common types of bacterial infections include strep throat, UTIs, and pneumonia. Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you at risk for antibiotic-resistant infections and potentially harmful side effects.
3) Antibiotics can cause side effects
As with any other medication, antibiotics come with potential side effects ranging from mild to severe. Common side effects include diarrhea, antibiotic resistance, rashes, yeast infections, and nausea. If you feel unwell when taking antibiotics, call your doctor right away.
4) It’s important to take antibiotics exactly as prescribed by your doctor
Many patients start to feel better after a couple of days of taking antibiotics and feel that they don’t need them anymore. However, it’s absolutely essential that you complete the course that the doctor prescribed. This is because antibiotics may have killed most of the symptom-causing bacteria but some stronger bacteria may remain. Once they have been exposed to a certain antibiotic, those stronger bacteria can adapt to that antibiotic and eventually become a superbug.
5) It is not advised to take old antibiotics
Different bacteria cause different sicknesses. Since there is no one-size-fits-all antibiotic, this means a different antibiotic may be necessary for different illnesses. Taking an old antibiotic could result in your body becoming resistant to that particular antibiotic, which means it won’t work when you actually need it.
At Sand Canyon Urgent Care, we help you understand your health and can prescribe antibiotics when you are in need. With facilities in Irvine and Laguna Hills, we can help. We welcome walk-ins and have an expert team of medical professionals ready to help you. Contact us today to get started.