An antibiotic is any medication that kills or slows down bacterial growth. There is an extensive variety of antibiotics, and each type works differently to affect certain types of bacteria. For this reason, it is important to only use the type of antibiotic medication that your doctor prescribes for the specific infection that you have.
Antibiotics are used to treat infections such as strep throat, urinary tract infections, ear infections, and sinusitis (infection of the mucous membranes inside the nose and surrounding areas). Conditions that are caused by viruses cannot be treated by antibiotics. For instance, the common cold, acute bronchitis, sore throats that are not caused by a strep infection, and the flu will not benefit from antibiotic use.
When to take antibiotics
The overuse of antibiotics can be detrimental to your health. Only use these medications when advised by your doctor, and in the recommended doses. Overuse will cause a growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Since antibiotics often leave some bacteria behind even when the majority of bacteria are killed off, the remaining bacteria will mutate as a way to become resistant to the medication. This, unfortunately, means that the next time you use the same medication, it will not work on the mutated bacteria (antibiotic-resistant bacteria). These mutated bacteria can also spread to others in your household or community, which results in infections that are much more difficult to treat with common antibiotics.
When taken as prescribed, antibiotics will help to rid your body of certain types of infections. These medications should be taken only if other treatment methods are not possible. Ask your doctor if there are alternative treatments and, if not, only use the medication for as long as needed. For the best results, learn what time of day is best to take your antibiotic, whether or not it should be taken with food, what side effects to look out for, and if other medications will interfere with your antibiotic treatment.
If you have an questions about taking antibiotics to treat ear nose or throat infection, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see an ear nose and throat specialist.