Antibiotics play an important role in preserving and protecting our general health. Antibiotics were developed to heal us when we get sick and make us stronger when our bodies are hit with an illness. However, too much of anything is never good and is a very common saying in the medical industry, and this heavily applies to antibiotic use.

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Antibiotic overuse can harm your body as well as risking your short and long term health. This is why understanding how to use antibiotics as well as how much you should take is crucial as overusing it can negatively affect you in multiple ways. 

How do Antibiotics Work?

Antibiotic Overuse

Antibiotics are a form of medicine that fights certain types of infections, diseases, and illnesses and can even save our lives. Antibiotics do this by either stopping the reproduction of bacteria in our system or irradicating them completely.

Our immune system is responsible for combatting harmful bacterias and disallowing them to multiply. However, sometimes, harmful bacterias are at high numbers, and our immune system cannot fight them alone. That’s when antibiotics come into play. 

Antibiotics can come in several different forms. Antibiotics can come in liquid form to consume, tablet form to swallow as well as topical products such as creams and ointments to apply over affected areas of the body.

Antibiotics can also be designed in ways that are more friendly and consumable towards young children. Antibiotics can either come over the counter at a chemist or health store or can be a prescription drug from the doctor. 

Why do People Overuse Antibiotics?

Antibiotic Overuse

People overuse and even abuse antibiotics for multiple reasons. Either they aren’t sure about how its directly affecting their health or because they are relying on it far too heavily.

It’s easy to avoid antibiotic overuse if you’re intentionally trying to avoid its consequences, but oftentimes people overuse it without realizing it. One of the biggest concerns in the medical industry today is antibiotic resistance.

What is Antibiotic Resistance?

Antibiotics resistance is when the body becomes immune to the effects of antibiotics, making them practically ineffective whatsoever. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC, claims that it is one of the world’s most pressing public health concerns, and is a preeminent problem in under-developed countries. Lack of knowledge and resources are usually the main causes as to why people overuse and abuse antibiotics.

In response to many people developing antibiotic resistance in their health, new forms of antibiotics have been developing to outpace the development of antibiotics. From antibiotic-resistant bacteria, however, many people still have antibiotic resistance and are at risk of the complications it poses. Consequences of antibiotic resistance include:

  • More serious illnesses
  • Longer recovery period
  • Difficult to treat
  • Increased hospital and medical expenses
  • Difficult for the doctors to find a solution

To lower the risk of antibiotic overuse and bacterial resistance, here are a couple of things you can do:

  • Get advice from your doctor. This is particularly important for younger children.
  • Let milder and less severe illnesses run their course. It’s best to self treat and stay away from antibiotics when necessary. 
  • Follow the direct advice from the doctor. If they tell you to consume until finish or only to use a certain amount, stick to it. 
  • Do not take antibiotics based on your feeling. Ensure that you are following the instruction on the packaging or from the doctor’s advice.

The Importance of Getting the Right Advice

Antibiotic Overuse

If you are sick, have an illness and are looking to get medication, speak with your doctor first. If it’s just a minor illness and you don’t intend on seeing a doctor, at least do your research on what medication works best and ask the pharmacist for their advice. Just keep in mind that antibiotic resistance is a serious matter and that you shouldn’t heavily rely on it every time you feel ill.

Even if you have the smallest suspicion that you are growing tolerance to certain antibiotics, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. The same also goes for young children. As children are not sure about what medication to take and how much of it is okay to consume, it’s our responsibility as parents and caregivers to ensure that children are medication properly and are not overusing antibiotics. 

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.