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Antibiotics: Importance and Safety

By: Julfred Marcellana, Jadwiga Merkel, Leann Murray: BU 4th YR Nursing Students

Antibiotics And Why They Are Important

  • The discovery of antibiotics is one of the greatest medical developments of all time. Countless lives have been saved and extended by using antibiotics.
  • Antibiotics help fight bacterial infections in the body such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, skin infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and many more.
  • However, they are not useful to treat viral infections such as colds and flu. The use of antibiotics for viral infections may lead to unnecessary side effects.

Proper Use Of Antibiotics And Safety

There are a few guidelines that to follow when taking antibiotics:

1. Take the antibiotic regularly at ordered times and finish the entire amount of medication

  • When using antibiotics, it is important that all doses are taken regularly and finished at the ordered time.
  • By taking all the doses that are ordered, the antibiotics kill all the bacteria related to the infection and reduce the chance of the remaining bacteria to form resistance to the antibiotics. This decreases the chance of the infection from returning.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is important to finish the all of the antibiotic even if you start to feel better or have decreased symptoms. This will help to ensure that the infection has been fully treated.

2. Do Not share antibiotics

  • Antibiotics should never be shared. This is important because sharing the medication may lead to complications as the antibiotic may not be appropriate for the other person it is given to.
  • The antibiotic that has been ordered is specific to that person and the type of infection being treated.

3. Ask questions

  • Ask questions when you are unsure about how and when to take antibiotics.
  • Ask what common side effects to expect and what types of food should be avoided when taking antibiotics.
  • Ask your health care provider if the antibiotic will interact with your the medications you are taking. For example:

Rifampin can interact and lessen the effectiveness of oral contraceptives.

Clarithromycin, used to treat infections such as pneumonia or H. pylori, interacts with many medications, including: alfuzosin, domperidone, lovastatin, tamsulosin, ticagrelor, simvastatin and many others.

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