Antibiotics are narrowly defined as medicines that kill the bacteria which causes infections. Since the 1930s, antibiotics have been used to treat many different infections, from sore throats to tuberculosis, meningitis and other more serious infections. Antibiotics in the form of creams, ointments and pills can figure prominently in a first aid kit.
Antibiotics are the subject of some controversy in the fields of medicine and first aid. Though they are meant to kill bacteria, some strains of bacteria have developed their own resistance to antibiotics. It is also believed that bacteria develop resistance more quickly when antibiotics are overused.
Do not pressure your physician to prescribe antibiotics, but instead use antibiotics with caution. Family members and others who are usually healthy will develop their own resistance to bacteria. It is more often best to simply let the flu or sickness run its course. If someone is sick for an “unacceptable length of time” consult a physician.
More cautions and concerns with antibiotics
Many people seek out antibiotics as treatment for diseases, which are actually not treatable with antibiotics. Antibiotics fight bacteria, but never viruses. Diseases caused by viruses, such as colds, the flu and sore throats, are never treated with antibiotics. If you have a critical lung infection though, you may want to get a prescription for antibiotics.
Antibiotics also kill the helpful bacteria in your body (those involved in food digestion, for example).
If you need to use antibiotics it is important to finish all the medication prescribed. Bacteria that survive the first few days of an antibiotic can pass on their genes to their “daughters”, resulting in resistant strains.
If you are going to buy antibiotics, be warned that cheapest is not likely the best. Often times, antibiotics become cheap when the strain they fight becomes resistant to the effects of the antibiotics.
To find out more about how the warnings above apply to you, talk to a trusted physician.