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What Are Antibiotics?


The introduction of antibiotics is one of the most significant advances in medicine in the 20th century. These drugs can be used to effectively treat infectious diseases caused by bacteria. However, incorrect use contributes to bacterial pathogens becoming resistant to antibiotics and no longer responding to treatment. Careful use of these drugs is therefore particularly important.

Antibiotics OTC are effective for infections caused by bacteria. They do not help with illnesses caused by viruses. Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed: Follow the prescribed dosage, times, and duration of use exactly. Follow the instructions in the package leaflet and those of your doctor as to which foods or stimulants you may need to avoid during therapy.

Before starting therapy, inform the doctor treating you about other medicines you are taking and about any concomitant diseases.
Inform the treating physician in advance if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Tell your doctor if you experience any abnormalities or adverse effects during antibiotic treatment.

Never take an antibiotic prescribed to other people or give your medicine to anyone else.

What Is Antibiotic?

Antibiotics are drugs that are effective against bacteria but not against viruses. The first antibiotics used in medicine were metabolic products of various bacteria and fungi, such as penicillin. In the meantime, however, partially or fully synthetic or genetically engineered antimicrobial chemotherapeutic agents are also referred to as antibiotics.

However, not every antibiotic is effective against every bacterium. For example, there are different substances that are used depending on the type of pathogen. Broad-spectrum or broad-spectrum antibiotics are effective against many different bacteria, while narrow-spectrum antibiotics target specific groups of bacteria. So-called reserve antibiotics are only used if the pathogens are resistant, i.e. resistant to other substances, or if there are very severe infections.

How Do Antibiotics Work?

Antibiotics support the body's defense system in fighting bacteria by killing the pathogens (bactericidal antibiotics) or inhibiting their growth (bacteriostatic antibiotics). The mechanism of action is based on the fact that the substance attacks the cell wall or the metabolism of the microorganisms, among other things.

Antibiotics are only effective against diseases caused by bacteria. These include, for example, tonsillitis, pneumonia, meningitis or bladder infections. In contrast, antibiotics are ineffective against colds and flu (influenza) caused by viruses.

However, if the organism is weakened by a viral infection, bacteria find it easier to invade the body and multiply. For example, a viral infection of the respiratory tract can lead to bacterial pneumonia in individual cases. If there are signs of an additional bacterial infection, medically also called bacterial superinfection, the use of an antibiotic may then become necessary.

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Joe Steinkamp is no stranger to the world of technology, having been a user of video magnification and blindness related electronic devices since 1979. Joe has worked in radio, retail management and Vocational Rehabilitation for blind and low vision individuals in Texas. He has been writing about the A.T. Industry for 15 years and podcasting about it for almost a decade.

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