It’s not uncommon for people to opt to take antibiotics when they suffer from common colds and coughs etc. Though there will be times when you have no option but to take some antibiotics, there are also times when you can do without them. It’s important for everyone to know what the dos and don’ts of antibiotics are. Let’s start with the don’ts:
#1 don’t take them if you don’t need to
Always keep in mind that antibiotics kill bacteria; they don’t have any effect on viruses. Most common ailments such as influenza and the common cold are caused by different viruses. It simply means that taking antibiotics for aliments such as these is not going to do you one bit of good. As a matter of fact, they can worsen the illness. Another point to note is that they can also contribute to the evolution of an antibiotic-resistant bug. It’s important to ascertain whether you are fighting a bacterial infection, before you take any antibiotics.
#2 Don’t discontinue taking the drug the minute you feel better.
In most instances, antibiotics have to be taken as a “course”. Your doctor will inform you in what dosage you have to take the medicine and the number of days you have to take it for. Though the drug may start taking effect within a day or two, it’s important that you continue with the entire course, regardless of how well you are feeling. It takes a certain number of days to get the bacteria out of your system and when you stop midway, you are breaking its effect.
#3 Don’t consume certain foods and beverages when you are taking antibiotics
Some foods can hamper the absorption of antibiotics. It’s best to avoid high fiber foods, milk and acidic foods when you are on this medication.
#4 Don’t take certain antibiotics with food
While your doctor will tell you to take certain antibiotics after a meal, he/she will tell you that some medications shouldn’t be taken with or close to a meal. This is because some antibiotics don’t get absorbed properly by the system when they are taken with food and they can’t do their job optimally. Follow doctor’s instructions while taking any medication.
#5 Don’t mix antibiotics with certain vitamins, herbal supplements and medications.
Always keep your doctor informed about any other drugs or supplements you are taking if you have been prescribed antibiotics. At times, iron and calcium and iron can reduce the effectiveness of certain antibiotics.
#1 Do take all antibiotics with water.
Water helps reduce the side-effects of antibiotics (some drugs can cause an upset stomach). It also helps the body absorb the antibiotics in a better way, and reduces the chances of any liver complications.
#2 Do ask your physician questions.
In case you have any concerns or questions about the antibiotics that have been prescribed to you, make it a point check these with your doctor. You may want to check why exactly the antibiotic is required, what its side effects are and the right way to take it etc
#3 Do shake all antibiotic oral suspensions properly.
If the antibiotic has been prescribed for a very young child, chances are it may be in the form of an oral suspension. These should always be shaken very well as it helps distribute the drug right through the suspension; or else there may be very little antibiotic in the 1st few doses and too much in the later ones
#4 Do watch-out for sign of any antibiotic allergies.
Some individuals are very allergic to specific antibiotics and it’s vital that you keep an eye out for symptoms of a possible allergy. This aspect is especially true if you have been prescribed a particular antibiotic for the first time. In most instances, antibiotic allergy symptoms occur within 1 hour of taking that drug. This can include:
- Rash or Hives
- Shortness of breath
- Runny nose
- Abdominal pain
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Bloody stool
If you suspect that you have suffered and an allergic reaction, it’s important to call your doctor without delay. Antibiotics are essential medication in some cases and can help get rid of bacterial infections quickly. However, it’s important to be cautious and follow these dos and don’ts when you are taking them.