When should you take antibiotics and when shouldn’t you?

Every individual has got “good” and “bad” bacteria in their organs and systems. Some of them help you stay in good health, others cause sickness. Antibiotics are effective healthcare products that can defeat an infectious disease caused by “unfriendly” bacteria. However, they are absolutely powerless when it comes to medical conditions caused by a virus, like influenza or the common cold. More than that, consuming antibiotics when you have symptoms of a disease caused by a virus is not safe and may have harmful consequences.

Antibiotics: the most basic mechanisms of action


As mentioned above, this kind of medication is meant to combat bacteria and help you recover from bacterial illnesses. The most common diseases that can be easily cured by taking antibiotics include sore throat, pertussis, bladder and kidney infections. Apart from colds and flu, there are other viral infections that can’t be cured by antibacterial drugs. Bronchitis and sinus infections are some of them. If you consume antibiotics when they are not required by your body, it may take you much longer to recover and get rid of the symptoms completely. It is likely you’ll have to suffer from various adverse effects, including rashes on the skin, a feeling of sickness, and frequent bowel movements.

The proper way of using antibiotics

Many doctors are quick to prescribe antibiotics to combat bacterial diseases in adults and children. Without a doubt, this kind of medication is highly effective and easy to obtain. Even the smallest drugstore in the most distant village in the country will have a vast array of antibacterial healthcare products to offer the customers. Ordering antibiotics online is also a convenient option, with many reputable services, such as Canadian pharmacy, offering their products at competitive prices. Nevertheless, one should go for antibiotics only when they are needed. The key is to always consult a trustworthy and professional healthcare practitioner. Antibiotics shouldn’t get prescribed if it’s possible to replace them with less aggressive home remedies, especially if you’re prone to catching bacterial infections.

Things to be aware of when taking antibiotics

Here are some further advice you may find useful:

  • Washing hands with water and soap or using wet wipes prevents the spread of infections. Follow the common rules of hygiene, and the use of antibiotics will be unnecessary.
  • One more preventive measure is to get all the vaccinations that can reduce the risks of contracting bacterial diseases to a great extent.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask your doctors questions when they prescribe you an antibiotic. For example, you may wonder what bacteria is targeted by a particular kind of medication. You may also ask whether it’s possible to cure the illness by taking home remedies, nutritional supplements, or other kinds of non-medical treatment.
  • You should strictly follow the instructions when taking antibiotics. Lots of people are tempted to stop the course once they start recovering, but it’s one of the biggest mistakes one can make when using antibacterial drugs.
  • It’s also important to take the prescribed dose. You shouldn’t try to increase or decrease it. Missing doses is a big no as well.
  • You should not try to manipulate your health care practitioner into prescribing you antibiotics when you don’t need them as such. Keep in mind that this kind of drug can have lots of adverse effects when misused.
  • Self-treatment is strictly prohibited when it comes to taking antibacterial remedies. Different types of these drugs are used to kill different types of bacteria, and incorrect treatment may result in a prolonged recovery period and rapid growth of harmful bacteria.

After you finish the course, it’s necessary to discard the excess antibiotic. Don’t keep them for later under any circumstances.

When should you avoid antibacterial medications?

Apart from viral infections, antibiotics should be either completely avoided or taken with a lot of caution by women expecting a baby. Although antibacterial drugs are typically prescribed for pregnant women, there are various safety factors to consider before you start a course. Firstly, your safety depends on the type of the antibacterial substance, the dosage, and the gestational age of the fetus. Generally speaking, these medications are considered safe for pregnant women:

  • ampicillin;
  • clindamycin;
  • cephalosporin.

The antibiotics you should avoid when expecting a child include sulphonamides since they might be harmful to the fetus’ development in general and its cardiovascular system in particular. Tetracycline isn’t usually prescribed during the initial two months of one’s pregnancy. In later stages, it’s considered safe.

Taking antibiotics is not advised when your body’s immunity is capable of combating a bacterial infection of its own. For example, if you develop an ear infection, your healthcare provider will likely wait a couple of days before prescribing antibiotics.

How compatible are antibiotics and alcoholic drinks?

In simple terms, alcohol is rarely compatible with any kind of medication. It causes various side effects like increased sleepiness, light-headedness, and irritability. Severe reactions can be expected if you consume alcoholic drinks along with trimethoprim or metronidazole. Some of them include a fast heartbeat, severe headache, feeling sick, and throwing up.

You may also experience hypertonia when taking a linezolid antibiotic substance with a mug of beer or a glass of wine. In many cases, a moderate intake of alcohol is allowed along with the use of antibiotics. It’s important, though, to keep in mind that alcoholic drinks reduce your energy levels and weaken immunity, so it’s harder for the body to get rid of harmful bacteria.

These are some of the things to consider before you go for antibiotic treatment.