Guide To Understanding Antibiotic Side Effects

Antibiotics are a type of medicine that can fight off a bacterial infection. When used correctly, antibiotics are some of the most powerful life-saving tools at an individual's disposal. The medicines work by killing off bacteria or preventing them from reproduction. Once the antibiotics fight the bacteria, the immune system can handle the rest of the infection. Antibiotics aren't effective against viral infections like the flu, colds, viral bronchitis, the majority of coughs, and the majority of sore throats. However, individuals should never use antibiotics when they aren't necessary, as the improper use of antibiotics can cause them to develop antibiotic resistance. If individuals are taking antibiotics for a bacterial infection and experience bad side effects, they should ask their doctor about switching to a new medication. That said, individuals should never stop a course of antibiotics partway through without finishing another.

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Nausea And Vomiting

In addition to killing disease-causing bacteria, antibiotics can wreak havoc on intestinal bacteria, making it difficult to digest food and process liquids, causing side effects like nausea and vomiting. Other gastrointestinal effects are also common. Though all antibiotics have a certain likelihood of causing stomach upset, some are more prone to stomach issues than others, including fluoroquinolones, penicillins, cephalosporins, and macrolide antibiotics. Patients should check with a pharmacist or doctor regarding whether they should take the antibiotic with a meal or not. Eating with or before taking an antibiotic can help for certain medications like doxycycline and amoxicillin. However, eating won't help with every antibiotic, and certain ones, like tetracycline, must be taken without food. Patients should always make sure they know how to take their specific antibiotic, and they can also ask their doctor about other methods of easing stomach discomfort. Taking probiotic supplements can sometimes help replenish the intestinal bacterial the antibiotics kill.

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Katherine MacAulay
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