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How to use antibiotics effectively and what happens if you don’t

posted on: 2018-08-29
walk in clinic Palm Springs

At work, at the store, at school – you can catch a cold anywhere. And it’s miserable! Naturally, to get some relief, you head to your walk-in clinic in Wellington and ask for drugs. The doctor complies, writing you a prescription for amoxicillin. But wait – didn’t you say you had a cold? Why are you taking antibiotics? There’s a big misunderstanding of what antibiotics do, and when you should use them.

What antibiotics are and how to use them

Antibiotics are a class of drugs that act against bacteria and are used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. Common bacterial infections include bacterial pneumonia, strep throat, and a number of sexually transmitted infections. Antibiotics either inhibit the growth of these “bad” bacteria or kill them outright, which enables you to feel better.

Antibiotics are not, however, an effective class of drugs against viral infections or fungal infections. That means if you have the flu, Lyme disease, or hepatitis (all viruses), antibiotics are not going to help you feel better. Antibiotics also won’t work on fungal infections like yeast infections or athlete’s foot.

So what is a conscientious person to do, especially if they want to feel better? Well, the first thing is to be honest about what your illness is. If you have a cold, you can treat the symptoms and let the virus run its course. For serious viruses, like Hepatitis B or HIV, you can manage them with antiviral medications; for fungal infections, you need antifungal drugs.

If you have a bacterial infection, though, go to your walk-in clinic in Palm Springs, get that prescription and use it properly. That means taking the drugs exactly as the doctor prescribes them – every day, in the proper dosage, and until you’re finished. Don’t take an extra pill because you hope it will act faster; don’t stop taking the antibiotics when you feel better. Believe it or not, these are ways that can actually make you sicker in the long run. How?

Antibiotic resistance

The biggest concern about the overuse or misuse of antibiotics – i.e. when they are prescribed to treat viral or fungal infections or when they aren’t used as prescribed – is that they become less effective against the illnesses they’re meant to treat. When antibiotics are used improperly – and this also includes not taking the proper dosage or not finishing a course prescribed by your doctor, the bacteria which they fight against adapt and become stronger. Then, the antibiotic doesn’t work anymore and when you are sick with the same infection, you can’t treat it. See what we mean about getting sicker in the long run?

A famous example is strep throat. While this illness is awful in its basic form, it has evolved to an even more dangerous version called MRSA – or “methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.” MRSA doesn’t respond to traditional antibiotics for strep and can be fatal. It also happens to be quite contagious, which is why you will hear reports of outbreaks in hospitals and communities.

Get better faster – Walk In Clinic Palm Springs

Have more questions about antibiotics? The staff at our walk-in clinic in Wellington are happy to answer any questions you have about your health. When you come in with symptoms, we don’t automatically prescribe antibiotics; we diagnose the root of the problem first. We are open 7 days a week for your convenience.

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