We use antibiotics in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. Antibiotics help kill bacteria and are best for preventing bacteria from multiplying or reproducing and spreading. It is crucial to remember that antibiotics do not work in case of viral infections, including sore throats, flu, common cold, and most coughs. According to the WHO, antibiotic resistance is a high risk to food security, global health, and development. We are witnessing the consistent emergence of new resistance mechanisms that seem to spread rapidly across the globe.
As such, treating some common infectious diseases can become challenging. Today, infections like salmonellosis, gonorrhea, pneumonia, and tuberculosis are increasingly becoming difficult, and often impossible to treat. Antibiotic resistance may result in higher medical expenses, extended hospital stays, and a drastic rise in mortality rates. We need to modify or transform how we prescribe and use antibiotics.
When to Use Antibiotics
Antibiotics should be prescribed and used with caution. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics for treating health concerns and issues that are:
- Not so serious but may not get resolved without the use of antibiotics, for instance, in the case of acne.
- Not that serious, but with the potential to spread and affect other people if not addressed promptly, for instance, sexually transmitted Chlamydia, and impetigo, a skin infection.
- Known to require antibiotics for remarkably speeding up recovery like kidney infection
- At the risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia or cellulitis
High-Risk Cases of Bacterial Infections
According to MyBioSource, antibiotics are one of the most effective weapons to combat harmful bacteria. Doctors recommend antibiotics for patients more susceptible to the hazardous impact of infection. People at risk of infections are:
- Elderly people aged 75 years and above.
- Babies born not even 72 hours ago develop a bacterial infection
- Patients who experienced a heart failure
- Diabetics taking insulin
- Patients having a weakened or compromised immune system because of chemotherapy or HIV
Varied Uses of Antibiotics
For Preventing Infection
Antibiotics are often administered as a precautionary measure to prevent an infection instead of treating one. It is known as antibiotic prophylaxis. Here are a few situations where antibiotics may be administered as an effective preventive treatment:
- In case of a surgical intervention
- In case of a wound or bite
- In case of clinical conditions where you are facing higher exposure to and risk of infection like in case of chemotherapy or spleen removal.
If you need surgery, your doctor will recommend antibiotics to prevent infection. Antibiotic prophylaxis is usually, prescribed by your doctor if you require surgery in a specific area. You may be facing a higher risk of acquiring an infection. Your doctor or the surgical team will advise you accordingly. Usually, antibiotics may be prescribed in case of the following surgeries:
- Eye surgery like glaucoma surgery or cataract surgery
- Breast enlargement surgery
- Joint replacement surgery
- Appendix removal surgery
- Gallbladder removal surgery
- Pacemaker surgery
Wounds & Bites
Antibiotics may be advised in case of a bite or wound that has a high risk of becoming infected like a wound that came into contact with feces or soil. Both human and animal bites may become infected. It is best to recommend antibiotic prophylaxis.
Medical or Clinical Conditions
Some clinical conditions make patients susceptible to infection. In such cases, antibiotic prophylaxis is necessary. Some instances are:
- Patients who underwent spleen removal surgery
- Patients going through chemotherapy sessions for cancer
- Patients suffering from sickle cell anemia
In several cases, an infection is recurring, and doctors recommend antibiotics to avoid distress and prevent undesirable complications. Doctors may prescribe antibiotics in case of genital herpes, cellulitis, rheumatic fever, and urinary tract infections.
You may learn about the varied uses of antibiotics in the prevention, and treatment of health issues and medical conditions. It is critical to use, and prescribe antibiotics with caution to avoid antibiotic resistance.
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