If you were feeling poorly, you’ve probably went to visit your doctor in hopes of receiving antibiotics. Chances are, you’ve used antibiotics before with great results. While antibiotics have been safely used for years, it is important to learn when and how antibiotics work.
It is important to know that antibiotics cannot cure everything. One of the first things a doctor will determine is if your illness is caused by bacteria or a virus. The common cold and flu are common viral infections. These cannot be cured by antibiotics. If you have a viral infection, other medications will help alleviate your symptoms as your body heals itself.
If your illness is caused by bacteria, you will receive antibiotics. So, how do antibiotics work? The first antibiotic created was penicillin. Many of our modern antibiotics such as Amoxicillin are penicillin based. Antibiotics work to kill bacteria in your body. It also helps to stop the bacteria from multiplying. This is why it is always advised to complete the entire course of your antibiotics. Even if you feel better, your body may still have harmful bacteria. The full course of antibiotics will insure that all bacteria is killed and will not return.
You should also tell your doctor about all symptoms that you have. While broad spectrum antibiotics usually cure a wide range of illnesses, there are a few antibiotics that are specific to certain illnesses. Your doctor needs to make sure that the correct antibiotic is prescribed.
It is also important to note that there are bacteria that is not harmful to our body. Overuse of antibiotics can kill off the positive bacteria. This may lead to digestion problems and lower our immune systems.
The CDC has noticed a growing trend of patients not responding to traditional antibiotics. In most cases, this is because of past overuse of antibiotics. While it is always good to see your doctor when you are sick, discuss a possible alternative course of treatment next time you go. Chances are, your doctor may suggest the age old remedy of rest and hydration. Your body may be able to fight off infection naturally, on it’s own.
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