Antibiotics are only effective against bacteria. Since their first use in the middle of the 20th century, they have made it possible to advance in the treatment of infectious diseases. But their massive and often inappropriate use favors the appearance of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
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When buying antibiotics on the internet, make sure that you are asked to answer several questions in the form of a reliable health form and that your order is checked by a qualified doctor
What is an antibiotic?
Antibiotics are drugs that work either by preventing the growth of bacteria (bacteriostatic antibiotics) or by killing them (bactericidal antibiotics).
There are several families of antibiotics (penicillins, quinolones, macrolides, etc.)
Each family of antibiotics is only active against a specific bacteria or family of bacteria.
Antibiotics have no effect on viruses or fungi.
What are antibiotics used for?
Victims of their own success, antibiotics are too often seen as drugs that cure everything, right away … but this is not true.
Antibiotics are only effective against diseases of bacterial origin:
- bacterial pneumonia
- bacterial angina only when the Rapid Diagnostic Orientation Test (TROD) is positive, therefore in favor of a bacterial origin of angina
- bacterial meningitis
Antibiotics can do nothing against viral illnesses such as nasopharyngitis in children as well as in adults, the flu, acute bronchitis, or most tonsillitis.
Antibiotics do not work on the symptoms. Fever, cough, headache, digestive problems, body aches … Antibiotics can do nothing against these symptoms … when the infection is viral. Medicines exist to relieve them, in particular paracetamol for fever and muscle aches.
Antibiotics do not cure a viral infection faster. With common viral illnesses, the person heals naturally in 1 to 2 weeks, without antibiotics … The body can defend itself against these common viruses in winter, it just takes a little time.
How to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics?
In order to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, let us remain vigilant in order to avoid the appearance of “resistance”. Resistance is the ability of bacteria to survive or reproduce despite the action of an antibiotic. It is increased by the excessive or inappropriate use of antibiotics.
So to avoid this phenomenon, be careful to respect: – the dose to be taken, – the times of taking, – and the duration of treatment. Consequently, to preserve the effectiveness of this medication: – only use an antibiotic when your doctor has prescribed it, – strictly follow your prescription, – do not reuse an antibiotic without a medical prescription, even if you think you are fighting a disease apparently similar, – never give your antibiotic to another person, it may not be suitable for their disease or for themselves, – once your treatment is finished, return all opened packs to your pharmacist.
This is the first step in the fight against antibiotic resistance. An infection avoided: it is an antibiotic preserved!
To prevent infections:
- wash your hands frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, when you come home from work, before preparing a meal, after sneezing and blowing your nose, before and after caring for someone, before and after have taken care of your animal
- store food and prepare meals under the appropriate conditions for each food
- follow the mandatory and recommended vaccinations: they protect you and those around you. Certain bacterial diseases are prevented by vaccination (for example, against whooping cough, against certain germs responsible for pneumonia or meningitis: pneumococcus, meningococcus, haemophilus influenza, etc.)
Fewer infections = fewer antibiotics prescribed = less resistance of bacteria to antibiotics
Better use of antibiotics
Trust your doctor because he knows when antibiotics are needed and when they are not. Do not take antibiotics without a prescription and without medical advice.
Your doctor will only prescribe antibiotics for you to treat bacterial infections. He chooses the antibiotic that is most effective against the bacteria in question. In some cases, a bacteriological analysis is necessary to identify the bacteria involved. If this is the case, this analysis is supplemented by an antibiogram, which makes it possible to determine which antibiotic will be the most effective against the bacteria in question.
When your doctor prescribes treatment with antibiotics, be sure to:
- respect the dose, the frequency of taking and the duration of your antibiotic treatment, according to what is mentioned on the prescription
- do not use your treatment for someone else. A treatment is specifically prescribed for a particular type of infection and adapted to each person
- ask your doctor for advice if you think you are having an adverse reaction to your treatment (rash, nausea, etc.)
- do not stop your treatment prematurely, even if your condition improves. You must take the antibiotic for the prescribed time
- after treatment is finished, do not reuse an antibiotic, even if you have symptoms that resemble those you had previously
- at the end of the treatment, return to your pharmacist all opened or unused boxes
Together, let’s save antibiotics. By preserving them today, we can benefit from their effectiveness when we really need them. Antibiotics: used wrongly, they will become weaker.
Diseases that cure without antibiotics
Flu, tonsillitis, bronchitis … some common illnesses are often the subject of antibiotics, although they are of viral origin in the majority of cases. Take stock of diseases that heal naturally in a few days.
Seasonal influenza is viral in origin and is a highly contagious acute respiratory infection. The epidemic returns every fall and lasts until spring. Vaccination can prevent it.
Nasopharyngitis begins with a fever (often below 39 ° C) and a sore throat. The latter often persists for 1 to 3 days. The nose becomes blocked and then runs for two to ten days. The secretions are initially clear then become thick, yellow, or greenish. A cough may also appear and last for a few days.
Angina is an inflammation of the tonsils (commonly referred to as red angina or white angina depending on the appearance of the tonsils). It is viral (most often) or bacterial. The diagnosis of its viral or bacterial origin determines the necessary treatment.
There are two types of angina:
- viral angina, the most common, caused by a virus,
- and bacterial angina caused by bacteria, most often a Streptococcus
The virus or bacteria, present in a sick person or having no symptoms (healthy carrier), are transmitted:
- through the air, when coughing or sneezing,
- by physical contact,
- or by contact with objects themselves contaminated with secretions from the nose or throat (toys, handkerchiefs, telephone, etc.)
Distinguishing between viral angina and bacterial angina is important because they are treated differently.
Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi of most often viral origin. The cough, at first dry, is then accompanied by sputum and then disappears in 2 to 3 weeks.
Every winter, bronchiolitis plagues infants and toddlers. It usually begins with a simple cold or nasopharyngitis, then a cough and respiratory discomfort appear.