Should I take antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription or not?
A banal, but very important thing: you cannot take antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription, and there are at least two significant reasons for this.
Reason one: there are no safe antibiotics. It should always be remembered that antibiotics are, albeit selective, but a poison. Each antibiotic has side effects and has a negative effect on the body, just in the case of serious infections, the disease itself is much more dangerous than the harm that the antibiotic will cause. However, only a doctor can correctly assess the ratio of the potential harm to the potential benefit of an antibiotic. It is also important to choose the right antibiotic, taking into account which bacteria caused the disease and which concomitant and chronic diseases the patient has, including allergies. This, again, can only be done by a doctor.
The second reason: the more widely the antibiotic is used, the faster the bacteria acquire resistance to it. The development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics is one of the most serious problems of modern medicine. There is already a situation where existing drugs lose their effectiveness faster than new ones appear. If the trend continues, in the near future we risk being again unarmed against infections. One of the reasons for such a rapid formation of bacterial resistance is the too widespread and uncontrolled use of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture. Therefore, judiciously limiting the use of antibiotics slows down the development of resistance in bacteria. And here, too, only a doctor can determine whether you really need to prescribe an antibiotic.
When you definitely don’t need to take antibiotics
“Just in case”: antibiotics are sometimes prescribed to prevent infectious complications, for example, after surgery. But drinking antibiotics on your own for prevention is not worth anything, the harm from this will be more than good.
With a cold: common colds are caused by viruses, and antibiotics do not work on them, so it makes no sense to use them here. Of course, someone can say that he drank an antibiotic for a cold and recovered – yes, only a person recovered thanks to his own immune system, the antibiotic did not help here. Antibiotics can be prescribed to treat bacterial complications from colds and flu (sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and others), but this decision must be made by a doctor.
For minor food poisoning: yes, they are often caused by bacteria, but usually these infections are not serious enough to be treated with antibiotics, and the harm from the antibiotic will again outweigh the benefit. Of course, if the poisoning is accompanied by high fever, pain, and the symptoms do not go away with usual treatment, you need to consult a doctor, and he will already decide on the prescription of antibiotics.
“I have already been prescribed this”: if a doctor has already prescribed an antibiotic for a certain illness, this does not mean that if you experience similar symptoms, you should immediately start drinking it. First, it is always possible to misinterpret the symptoms; secondly, the condition may not be so severe that antibiotics are required. Therefore, in a similar situation, you also need to see a doctor. Even if an antibiotic is needed, there is always the possibility that more effective or safer remedies have appeared in the intervening time, and the doctor will select another drug.
What is important to know if antibiotics are still prescribed
To finish the prescribed course to the end, even if the symptoms disappear earlier. You need to understand that antibiotic therapy is always a war against bacteria, and you need to live according to the rules of wartime. Quite often, when taking antibiotics, the symptoms of the disease disappear or noticeably weaken a few days before the end of the course, which was prescribed by the doctor. The patient often has a great temptation not to finish all the pills to the end, to “save the body”. However, at this point, the pathogen has not yet been completely destroyed, and if the antibiotic is stopped drinking, a relapse of the infection may occur, and even the pathogen will acquire resistance to this antibiotic, and the drug will have to be changed. Therefore, the infection must be “finished off” completely by drinking the entire course prescribed by the doctor, regardless of the disappearance of symptoms.
Observe the prescribed doses and the regimen of administration, because the stability of the concentration of the antibiotic in the blood plasma depends on them. Each antibiotic can effectively kill bacteria only if its plasma concentration is not below a certain minimum value. If you skip doses of the drug or reduce the dose yourself, its concentration in plasma may be below the minimum required – pathogenic bacteria will begin to multiply again and may become resistant to the drug. The treatment will be ineffective, the drug will have to be changed, and the course will have to be repeated.
Do not drink alcohol, so as not to increase the toxic effect of antibiotics.
And if it is very short?
Antiseptics are good, but in moderation. They kill everyone indiscriminately, including our body’s own cells. Their daily constant use in cosmetics and hygiene products will do more harm than good. Each antiseptic has its own spectrum of activity, they are effective only until the infection has entered the body, and it is important to take into account the minimum duration of action of the drug.
Antibiotics act only on bacteria, they must be prescribed by a doctor, with good reason. These are effective, but not harmless means, the uncontrolled use of which can be dangerous. If you have been prescribed antibiotics, you must definitely finish the course to the end, observing the regimen and dosage of the drug.