First things first. So, what is an Antibiotic?
Antibiotics are artificially synthesized drug that is prescribed when a person is affected by some kind of bacteria that causes infection in the body. Antibiotics are capable of fighting against certain bacteria only and not against viruses. Antibiotics have become a staple for us, and they are available widely. It helps in eliminating or preventing the spreading of bacteria and certain parasites from our system.
Antibiotics are available in various forms and shapes. They can be taken as liquids, capsules, ointments, creams, or even through injections if the infection is severe. The antibiotics should be taken only when it is prescribed by the doctor. Proper knowledge about the nature of the disease must be diagnosed before prescribing antibiotics. Consuming antibiotics without knowing their potential can cause adverse effects on our bodies.
Here, in Fine Fettle, we will enlighten you about what antibiotics can and cannot do.
How Can Antibiotics Help Protect Our Bodies?
Our body consists of naturally produced bacteria that help in various functions of our body. The presence of bacteria is high in our gut region – the digestive system. Foreign bacteria enter our body through host cells and disrupt normal functioning causing diseases. Luckily, after the invention of antibiotics, mankind has seen a huge leap in survival rates. Antibiotics either kill or stop the growth of microorganisms, like bacteria and fungi. Antibiotics can fight against certain infections such as
- Ear and sinus infections
- Strep throat
- Dental infection
- Bladder and kidney infection
- Skin infection
- Whooping cough
- Bacterial pneumonia
What antibiotics can’t do is fight against viral infections.
So How Do Antibiotics Work?
Antibiotics work in two ways – either they kill the bacteria causing the infection or prevent it from spreading to other areas of the body. The medication effect is strong at first. The effect of the medication varies for different antibiotics. There are over 100 varieties of antibiotics. Few commonly used antibiotics are :
Half-life of Antibiotics
The time that the medication effect kicks starts in our system is called the biological half-life or terminal half-life. The half-life for each antibiotic varies.
The half-life of Amoxicillin – 1–2 hours
The half-life of Amphotericin – 15 days
The half-life of Metronidazole– 6.5 hours
The half-life of Azithromycin – 68 hours
The half-life of Capreomycin – 12 hours
The half-life of Clarithromycin – 3–4 hours
The half-life of Clindamycin – 2–4 hours
The half-life of Dicloxacillin – 42 mins
The half-life of Doxycycline- 18–22 hours
Side Effects of Antibiotics
Everything in life that has advantages also comes with its disadvantages. Antibiotics, when consumed as prescribed by the doctor, do not harm our bodies. But when taken recklessly, they come with a set of side effects. Whenever doctors prescribe us antibiotics, they also advise us to take probiotics. These probiotics help in nullifying the side effects caused by the antibiotics. Probiotics are also bacteria and must be consumed a few hours before taking antibiotics. The possible side effects that are caused by antibiotics are:
- Tooth Discoloration
Some people may experience allergic reactions such as troubled breathing, hives, and swelling of the tongue after taking antibiotics. In this case, they must immediately consult with their doctor.
A Word From Fine Fettle
Our natural food contains natural bacteria that are essential for the body. Therefore, consume food that is rich in fiber that can be easily digested and fermented by the bacteria present in the gut area of our body. Food that has good bacteria is called prebiotic food. Fermented food such as idli, dosa, dhokla, curd, and cheese has healthy bacteria and also helps in replacing damaged bacteria in the gut region. The immune system must be strengthened to remove or prevent toxins from entering our bodies. Therefore, it is essential to eat healthily and make conscious food choices.
In Fine Fettle, we discuss a few nutrition tips to keep away from the necessity of taking antibiotics.