Antibiotics are designed to fight dangerous bacterial infections. Despite this, many still use them to get rid of coughs, colds and flu. In this case, antibiotics only harm an already weakened body. Polls show that almost half of Russians do not know about the main function of antibiotics and take them without consulting a doctor. Here's why you shouldn't do this.
Readily available antibiotics
It is impossible to buy antibiotics in Western Europe and the USA without consulting a specialist. They are prescribed only with strict indications and are sold exclusively with a doctor's prescription. In Russia, despite the current ban, even strong antimicrobial drugs can be purchased at almost any pharmacy. Although this practice is illegal, it is very difficult to control it. According to polls, 41% of Russians have antibiotics in their first-aid kit, and a third of the country's population actively practices self-medication.
Taking antibiotics is associated with many nuances that must be considered. That is why it is so important to see a specialist. Even if your doctor has already prescribed antibiotics for you, you should not take the same drug next time for similar symptoms. You will most likely need a new medication and a different dose. Without knowing for sure which pathogen caused you to feel unwell, you cannot take antibiotics. Self-medication and uncontrolled use of such drugs can provoke various complications.
If you still have tablets from the previous packaging, dispose of them with the waste. Do not flush antibiotics down the sink or toilet - this is harmful to the environment. In the USA, unnecessary medicines are taken to special collection points. There is no such practice in Russia. Experts advise removing the tablets from the blisters, crushing them to a powder and mixing with earth or cat litter. Place the mixture in a glass jar and close the lid tightly before disposal.
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Antibiotics are not a panacea. Bacteria learn to defend themselves
Do not rush to drink antibiotics at the first sign of illness. According to polls, 46% of Russians are confident that antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria. They are used to treat nasal congestion, coughs, bronchitis, colds and flu. This is a common misconception. In reality, antibiotics are not helpful in fighting viruses; they only target bacteria. Your doctor will determine if you really need antibiotics. If not, he will recommend antiviral treatment: plenty of drinks, rest, and vitamins to support the body.
The main danger of antibiotic therapy is bacterial resistance. This is the name of the resistance of microorganisms to antibiotics. Bacteria quickly adapt to adverse conditions and develop new properties that protect them from drugs. In other words, the antibiotic may not work when it is needed. Moreover, some bacteria can pass the resistance gene to their fellows. As a result, the disease becomes more dangerous, treatment - more expensive, and the body spends more time to recover.
It has been calculated that antibiotics have increased human life expectancy by an average of 20 years. Today, medical associations are actively fighting the irresponsible use of antimicrobial drugs. We do not produce the required amount of new antibiotics, and we use the existing ones irrationally, according to WHO representatives. As a result, it is not always possible to defeat infections with the help of antibiotics, which previously helped. According to British experts, about 25 thousand people die every year in Europe due to resistant bacteria.
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What doesn't kill bacteria makes them stronger
Microorganisms that are not afraid of antibiotics appear, among other things, due to improper medication. This is another reason to see a doctor. He will determine the duration of the treatment, select the appropriate daily dose and tell you in detail about the drug intake regimen. For the antibiotic to work properly, you must follow all the doctor's recommendations. Some drugs are always drunk at the same time, others - before, after or during meals. Take antibiotics on an hourly basis to maintain proper blood levels of the drug.
It is very important not to interrupt the course of treatment, even if there are improvements. Symptoms of the disease may go away, but this does not mean that the bacteria have been destroyed. If antibiotics are taken too shortly or in insufficient doses, the remaining germs can lead to a relapse of the disease. At the same time, they will be less susceptible to the antibiotic, and the resistance gene will pass to the next generation of microbes. Thus, the person will become a carrier of "immune" bacteria that can be transmitted by close contact.
Unpleasant side effects
Choosing the right antibiotic depends not only on the diagnosis, but also on your individual contraindications. An important task of the doctor is to monitor possible adverse reactions. For example, some antibiotics cause liver complications in 10-15% of cases. In addition, they kill not only disease-causing microbes, but also beneficial bacteria. Therefore, their intake is sometimes accompanied by allergies, nausea, intestinal and stomach upset. An experienced doctor will select the best drug that will help eliminate unpleasant symptoms and avoid complications.
Antimicrobial drugs can interact with other medications, so it is very important to tell your doctor ahead of time about taking them. For example, some antibiotics reduce the therapeutic effect of drugs that thin the blood or normalize the acidity of the stomach, while others weaken the effect of contraceptives. In addition, while taking antibacterial drugs, it is recommended to refuse fruit juices, dairy products, sugary soda and alcohol. The substances included in their composition reduce absorption and weaken the effect of antibiotics.
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If the doctor is wrong
Antibiotics are a scarce resource. Despite this, doctors themselves sometimes abuse their prescription. A quarter of all antibiotics are prescribed unreasonably, American researchers are sure. This is most often due to pressure from patients who ask for the "stronger" medicine. In some cases, doctors prescribe potent drugs for "reinsurance". Be sure to check with the doctor for what purpose and for the treatment of what disease he prescribed antibiotics for you. Purchase medicines only from trusted locations. According to WHO, antibiotics are considered the most popular drugs for counterfeiting.>