When a disease or dysfunction arises, we immediately look for a professional capable of diagnosing the causes of the disease through tests and symptoms and, after confirming a diagnosis, prescribing a medication.
Many people do not understand the difference between an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory, not understanding why the doctor often prescribes both together.
Antibiotics are drugs used in cases of diseases caused by microorganisms such as fungi or bacteria. With the administration of antibiotics, the development of microorganisms is stopped, causing the gifts to be eliminated. Some examples of diseases caused by microorganisms are: pneumonia, tuberculosis and meningitis, among others. Some of the antibiotics used are: penicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline. Viruses are treated with exclusive drugs called antivirals.
Anti-inflammatory drugs are used to eliminate any edema or swelling caused by a disease, trauma or aggression suffered, allergy and burns. This medication minimizes the effects caused by the defense of the organism by activating the local circulation.
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Thus, the antibiotic acts on the causative agent of a disease, be it bacteria or fungus. The anti-inflammatory acts on inflammations generated by trauma or aggression.
It is important to note that the indiscriminate use of antibiotics can generate resistant microorganisms, since there is a possibility of selecting the weakest. Thus, they become increasingly difficult to eliminate.
Often, the food itself serves as an antibiotic. Spices like garlic, ginger, cinnamon, among many others are great antibiotics that, added to a healthy and balanced diet and lifestyle, prevent a large number of health problems by inhibiting the development of microorganisms.
There are also natural anti-inflammatory drugs and studies on them that aim at minimizing side effects and a more affordable value than that of pharmacists found on the market today.
By Giorgia Lay-Ang
Graduated in Biology
7 Interesting Facts About Antibiotics
1. Antibiotics do not cause resistance if used correctly
FALSE. Antibiotic resistance is pure Darwinian natural selection. For years, bacteria had to protect themselves from chemicals produced by other bacteria and fungi, designed to kill them. Since 1928, when Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, we have been taking advantage of these substances as antibiotics.
Bacteria able to resist have a survival advantage and will survive the onslaught of an antibiotic. When we use antibiotics, we kill the fragile bacteria, but we don’t eliminate the resistant ones.
Depending on the circumstances, the resistant bacteria will reproduce and may also cause infections in the treated person or colonize the surface of the skin and body (thus becoming contagious, by touch, for example).
So no matter how well you follow the treatment, it can still cause resistance.
2. It is our body that becomes resistant to the antibiotic.
FALSE. It’s the bacteria, not our bodies.
Therefore, there is nothing we can change in our bodies that will overcome the bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics.
3. Antibiotics are the cure for the common cold and flu
FALSE. Antibiotics are only active against bacteria. The common cold and the flu are caused by viruses, against which antibiotics have no effect. The excessive and incorrect use of antibiotics against viral infections is one of the biggest responsible for the increase in antibiotic resistance worldwide.
4. “If I feel better, I can stop the treatment”
FALSE. Our symptoms usually improve before all the bacteria are killed and treated by the body. Stopping treatment early can help the bacteria become resistant.
5. “I can take leftovers, or any of family or friends
FALSE. Never take antibiotics that have not been prescribed for you. Expired pills may have lost the active ingredient, which facilitates the survival of bacteria (and their resistance). While pills prescribed to others, they may not be the best for your specific problem. There are different antibiotics on the market.
6. Resistance only happens in repeat cases
FALSE. Antibiotic resistance can happen any time you need to take them, whether it’s one or more times. The more you use it, the more resistance it can cause. But that doesn’t mean that a one-time use can’t cause resistance.
7. It’s the doctors fault
FALSE. It is fair to say that the medical profession has failed the general public. Much more needs to be done to educate and raise public awareness around the problem of antibiotic resistance and its proper use.
But the hard truth is that we are all in this together. Public pressure on doctors and nurses to prescribe antibiotics can be intense. Good practice is often hampered by uncertainty, whether due to lack of knowledge or lack of diagnosis at points of care.
What matters in the end is that we are all responsible for our future. Antibiotics are a global good. They belong to everyone, so one person’s attitude affects everyone.
It is time for all of us to protect antibiotics to slow the inevitable rise in bacterial resistance by correcting the misuse of this vital resource.