A number of infections can be treated with an antibiotic. But this medication cannot be used for viral infections such as coughs, flu, and cold. This powerful medicine protects the body from certain infections and can save lives when they are used properly.
When you are taking antibiotics for your infection, it is natural to experience some side-effects. Below are the most common side-effects that you need to be aware of:
Digestive problems – many reports have shown that taking antibiotics can cause issues with digestion. This is common to many patients and their symptoms include:
- feeling of fullness
- stomach pain or cramping
- loss of appetite
Most of these symptoms will disappear when the patient stops taking the antibiotic. But if you keep on experiencing these symptoms or they get worse, you need to stop taking the medication, and you need to talk to your doctor immediately.
Fungal Infections – since antibiotics were designed to slow down or stop the growth of harmful bacteria in the body, there is a high chance that they can also kill the good bacteria that is protecting the human body from fungal infection. This is the reason why some patients who are taking antibiotics develop an infection in the mouth, throat, or vagina.
The common symptoms of fungal infection are:
- itchiness, soreness, and swelling on the vagina
- experiencing pain or a burning sensation while peeing or during intercourse
- chills and fever
- experiencing pain while swallowing or eating
- loss of taste
- you have a cottony feeling inside the mouth
Photosensitivity – various types of antibiotics are making the skin extra sensitive to the sun. That is, doctors advise their patients to avoid prolonged exposure to the sunlight while taking their medication sodium cyclamate.
Teeth and bone staining – tooth discoloration may be observed in those patients who are taking antibiotics. This side effect is irreversible in adults since their teeth do not change or regrow.
But staining that happens in some bones can be reversed because human bones keep on remodeling themselves over time.
Allergy – the cases where patients develop an allergic reaction to antibiotics is significantly growing. Their common symptoms are rashes, swelling of face and tongue, and difficulty with breathing. If you think you have an allergy to a certain antibiotic, you need to inform your doctor immediately. The body’s reaction to this allergen can be severe, and it can be fatal or can cause death.
Dosage and Administration
When you are taking any kind of antibiotic, you need to remember the following:
- Most patients are taking this medication orally. But some doctors may recommend injection or applying it directly to the infected part of the body.
- The effects of antibiotics will start a few hours after taking your first dose. To make sure that your medication is working, you need to complete your dosage according to your doctor’s instructions.
- If you choose to stop the medication before the recommended course, you are increasing the bacteria’s resistance to future treatments. Since the remaining bacteria get long exposure to the antibiotic, they can become resistant to it.
- You need to complete the course of your treatment though you can see and feel an improvement with your condition.
- There are types of antibiotics that must be taken with full meals, while other antibiotics must be taken with an empty stomach. Always follow the instructions of your doctor so your medication will be effective.
- Most doctors will recommend their patients to stop drinking alcohol while taking antibiotics.
While you are taking antibiotics for an infection, you should not take other medications or herbal products without the advice of your doctor. There are over-the-counter medicines that can interact with the effects of antibiotics.
When you are taking oral contraceptives while using this medication can reduce the effectiveness of the contraceptives. When this happens to you, you can use an additional contraceptive for precautions.
Warnings and Precautions
The following warnings and precautions must be followed while taking antibiotics:
- Always know the class or subclass of your prescribed antibiotic, especially if you have an allergic history with this medication.
- When you have started taking an antibiotic, you need to finish this according to your doctor’s instructions. Don’t stop the medication though you are feeling better unless your doctor says so.
- You have to verify and confirm that your infection is cured.
- Failure to finish the medication may keep the symptoms or even worsen them.
- If an infection was not cured because you did not finish the course of your medication, it could get worse and more difficult to treat.
Antibiotic resistance can happen due to some reasons. But the top reason is when a patient stops taking his medication without finishing the course. When this happens, you are leaving your infection uncured. The bacteria that have survived during the medication can develop resistance to the antibiotic. So the next time you will take the same antibiotic because your symptoms came back or gotten worse, the medication will no longer be effective.
Resistance may also happen if you have taken an antibiotic for conditions such as:
- Viral gastroenteritis
- Most coughs
- Most sore throats
Bacteria do not cause these conditions, thus taking antibiotics will not treat them. If you keep taking antibacterial with these infections, you are only increasing your risk of antibiotic resistance.
Overdose and Contraindication
Most prescriptions of antibiotics come with the right dosage. When you take this medication, you need to follow the instructions of your doctor. Overdosing antibiotic can affect the following:
- Respiratory system – a person who has an allergy to an antibiotic will show symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty with breathing. Getting overdose or taking too many antibiotics will prevent the person from breathing and can cause fatality if medical attention will not be given immediately.
- Skin – overdosing of antibiotics can affect the healthy skin of a person. The symptoms will include pale skin, rashes, bluish fingernails, and lips.
- Intestinal – if you experience diarrhea and upset stomach, this may be another sign of antibiotic overdose. Other symptoms are nausea, abdominal cramping, and pain.
The pharmacology of antibiotics and their effects are quite complex. The first step is to choose an antibiotic that will treat an infection while minimizing the possible side-effects and resistance of the medication and bacteria. Other factors must be considered, such as the patient’s medical history and other medication that he is taking. Antibiotics are helpful to many as long as it will be used properly.
While many patients take antibiotic under the subscription of their doctor, it is vital that you know the proper guidance before you take the first dosage of your medicine:
- Inform your doctor about allergies. If you have a history of antibiotic allergies – such as allergy with penicillin – you need to inform your doctor before they prescribe your medication. If your doctor knows about your allergies, he will give you alternative medicine that can treat your infection without compromising your body.
- Inform your doctor about pregnancy. Antibiotics are not recommended for pregnant women. But if this medication is needed, your doctor will assess your condition. Discuss your situation with your medical provider since they know what’s best for you.
- Determine when and how to take your medication. In most cases, antibiotics were prescribed with the right dosage, how and when you should take every dose. It is important to follow these instructions for a more effective treatment.
- Finish your course of medication. Once you have started your medication and taken the first dose of antibiotics, you need to complete the course. If you can find improvement with your condition, continue the medication until the last day of the course. If you choose to stop it without your doctor’s consent, you are increasing the chance of reoccurrence of the infection. The bacteria inside your body may also develop antibiotic resistance.
- Never double your dose. If you forgot to take your dose after lunch, you should not double your dose over dinner. The forgotten dose is a missed dose. You must resume with your next schedule.
- Determine how you should take your antibiotic. Some foods and drinks could interact with your antibiotic and can reduce its effectiveness. Ask your doctor if you should take your medicine with an empty stomach or with a full meal.
- Store your antibiotic properly. This is one of the important things that most patients forget about. Storing your medication must be done correctly. Most antibiotics can be stored in a dry place at room temperature. But there are types of antibiotics that must be placed inside the refrigerator. If you are not sure what to do, ask your doctor or pharmacist about it.
Antibiotics are very effective and powerful when treating different bacterial infections. The best way to maximize its effectiveness is to use antibiotics properly and use them only when it is necessary.