Antibiotics are potent drugs given to fight infections. Remember that not all cases of infections are treated with antibiotics. Even though antibiotics might be effective against infections brought about by bacteria, they are not effective if the cause is a virus.
Similar with other drugs, antibiotics have potential side effects and must only be used if needed. Using one that is not needed can be detrimental.
When are antibiotics needed?
The doctor might require certain tests to determine if the individual requires antibiotics and which one works best. The urine or blood of the individual might be assessed for presence of bacteria.
While under treatment, additional tests and more data might reveal that another type of antibiotic is required or there is another form of infection. The tests might reveal that the antibiotic is not effective, or the infection could not be managed with antibiotics.
What are the potential side effects?
Antibiotics have their share of side effects ranging from minor to serious.
Severe, possibly fatal diarrhea
Using antibiotics can increase the risk for a gut infection brought about by the Clostridium difficile bacteria. When drugs are taken, the protective gut bacteria might be destroyed. A severe and even deadly diarrhea can manifest.
If severe diarrhea develops while under antibiotics, the doctor must be informed right away.
Using the drug can increase the resistance of the bacteria to them. The antibiotic-resistant infections are considered serious and hard to manage.
The individual should inform the doctor if he/she has any known allergies or previous drug reactions.