Health: Learn about antibiotics

Antibiotics are a group of drugs which are used for treating infections caused by bacteria, which are microscopic germs, invisible to the naked eye.

Antibiotics are a group of drugs which are used for treating infections caused by bacteria, which are microscopic germs, invisible to the naked eye.

Since the discovery of the first antibiotic Penicillin in 1929 by Alexander Fleming, antibiotics are used widely to treat and cure infectious diseases.

Many new antibiotics prepared from biological or synthetic substances and having a wide spectrum against bacteria and other germs have since been manufactured.

As newer antibiotics are coming to destroy the germs, germs are also developing new strains which become resistant to the existing antibiotic. 

Emerging resistance to antibiotics is a big concern world over, because alternate options remain few. The options are also   not accessible and affordable to millions of poor living in under developed countries, majority of whom suffer from infectious diseases and need antibiotics.

Antibiotics are also abused by people for auto medication like pain killers. For a mild cough, a person may go to the pharmacist directly and buy Bactrim or amoxy, e.t.c. antibiotics.

Little do people realize that apart from their useful effect, antibiotics have harmful effects on the body.

Antibiotic as the name   suggests   is something against life (anti meaning against and bios means life). It is not only the life of microbes but also of   human beings that is   harmed in some way by excess use of antibiotics. 

Some of the antibiotics like penicillin or sulphur drugs can cause severe life threatening allergic reactions. In addition sulphur drugs like bactrim are excreted via kidneys and have the risk for causing  kidney toxicity. 

Chloramphenicol though not used as frequently as before  has a risk of causing bone marrow depression. Thus it leads to lack of blood and its components in the body, which can be severe enough to make a person very sick. Erythromycin is known to cause gastritis and also is toxic to the liver.

Drugs like Ciprofloxacin, Norfloxacin  though very useful can cause much nausea and vomiting.   Tetracyclines  also cause liver toxicity. In addition, they are known to induce photodermatitis in the user.

That is irritation of the skin after exposure to sunlight. Streptomycin and gentamycin,  are toxic to the ears and kidneys, thus causing deafness and renal damage.

List of adverse effects produced by antibiotics is endless, but the harmful effects they have on body is much more than the adverse effects.

Along with the harmful bacteria, these drugs also destroy the bacteria  normally present in the gut which are useful for the body.  Thus frequent diarrhea, ulcers in the mouth can occur.

They also deplete the body of vitamin B.complex and vitamin K.  Antibiotics also reduce the immunity of the body making a person more susceptible to other infections like fungal infection.

The action of an antibiotic   against harmful microbes is brought about by building of certain levels of the drug in the blood.

This becomes possible only by taking  the particular drug at fixed intervals of 6,8 or 12 hours, depending on its characteristics.

Taking the drug in insufficient dose does not give the desired result, rather it leads to the germs getting resistant.

Same thing happens when someone takes antibiotics only for 2, 3 days and stops suddenly.

The name of majority of the antibiotics ends with the suffix,”cin”. If one cares to understand it in a broader way, it means the suffering of the result of some sin.

The common sins which lead to reduced immunity and   some infection are improper diet , lack of hygiene, lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol, e.t.c.

Therefore it is important to keep oneself healthy so that no germs can invade   the  body and make one sick .  Small ailments like mild cold, cough,e.t.c. can be cured by simple means like  hot gargles or steam inhalation.

Taking antibiotics immediately is not good as many of these mild infections are viral in nature and subside spontaneously.

If at all needed, antibiotics should be taken only after consulting a doctor. It is also important to take them in correct dose and complete the course of treatment.

When used selectively and wisely antibiotics will prove to be more useful and risk of resistance also will be less.

E-mail –rachna212002@yahoo.co.uk 

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