Popping antibiotics frequently? Here’s what you need to know

If used in a correct way, antibiotics can actually be beneficial, but if used frequently, they can have side effects as well.
anitbiotic use for viral fever
Be wary of consuming antibiotics every now and then. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Gurpreet Kaur Published: 28 Jun 2022, 16:14 pm IST
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Are you one of those who pops an antibiotic whenever you have a common cold and cough or a low-grade viral fever. In fact, the use of antibiotics is quite common nowadays. But did you know that doctors only prescribe antibiotics to treat serious bacterial infections such as meningitis or pneumonia. The next time you are impulsive about taking an antibiotic for that fever, think again!

What is the correct way to use an antibiotic?

It is imperative that you take antibiotics in an appropriate way. In fact, in case of a bacterial infection, the course of antibiotics, as prescribed by the doctor, should be completed even if you feel fine. If you stop the course in between, there are chances of the bacterial infection relapse or the bacteria might become resistant to that antibiotic.

Don’t self-medicate. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Common side effects of antibiotics

Whenever you use an antibiotic, there are chances that you might experience symptoms like diarrhea, soft stools (feces), nausea, bloating and indigestion along with constant stomach pain and loss of appetite. In such cases, seek medical help immediately.

What’s the right way to use antibiotics

Author, nutritionist and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal, in her recent Instagram video reveals all the details you need learn about using antibiotics wisely:

1. Antibiotics cannot resolve a viral infection, like common cold, cough, and flu. They are appropriate for bacterial infections or some sexually transmitted diseases or STDs, bacterial pneumonia. So use them only for the right infection.

2. If you take an antibiotic for a common cold, viral fever, or viral infection, it disrupts your gut flora and increases your inclination to weight gain, obesity and other diseases, both physical and mental.

3. Seeking random medical help at the first hint of a mild illness increases the chances of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. Moreover, your immune system develops in order to combat an infection. When you pop an antibiotic, the immune system doesn’t get a chance to grow stronger. So, in case of a mild infection, wait for a few days to see if symptoms improve, rather than rushing to take medicines.

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Also, read: Before popping antibiotics, try these 5 home remedies to treat UTI

4. Always ask the basic question to your doctor before taking antibiotics, “Do I have a bacterial infection or is it viral?”

antibiotics and covid (1)
Antibiotics can weaken your immune system. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Always complete the antibiotic course even if you start feeling better or recover completely in the middle of the course. Else, the infection may just come back stronger and more resistant

6. Do not self medicate with antibiotics. By doing so, you are unknowingly adding to the already growing burden of antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, which means more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to present medicines making it challenging for the health industry to treat bacterial infections.

Hence, judicious use of antibiotics is highly crucial, not only on a personal level but also on a much bigger, societal level. So, let’s act wisely.

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About the Author

A lifestyle journalist with a perennial hunger for all nice things in life - from fashion to food and different cultures. When she is not writing in her favourite coffee spot, she spends her time socializing with people or exploring different cities. ...Read More

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