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The 5 Golden Rules for Using Antibiotics Effectively

The Wise use of antibiotics

The antibiotic period has been a golden era in health care.

Before antibiotics a simple cut or sniffle was serious and often life threatening. Consumption (tuberculosis) was rampant and during World War I disease and infection (and not the battle wound itself) were the primary causes of death.

With the discovery of antibiotics our life expectancy jumped 8 years… we lived longer and healthier lives.

But as we are now coming to realise, our indiscriminate and over use of antibiotics has been a significant contributor to the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs. The name of the game after all – is the survival of the fittest – and it looks like the bugs are winning!

So while antibiotics are still reasonably effective, what can we do to ensure that we use them as effectively as possible?

The 5 Golden Rules of Effective Antibiotic Use

1. Only take antibiotics when prescribed by your doctor. Do not be tempted to self medicate when it comes to antibiotics. Many infections require a specific narrow spectrum antibiotic to be effective. If you use the wrong antibiotic you run the risk of killing off the good bacteria in your body leaving behind the more virulent – while doing nothing to fighting your infection!

2. When prescribed antibiotics – take the full course of the medicine as prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking them half way through the course or miss a dose. It is important to kill off the infection in your body as thoroughly as possible.

3. Take your antibiotics in accordance with all directions -for example if your antibiotics are to be taken with food or to avoid alcohol then it is important to do so.

4. If at the end of your antibiotic treatment you still find that your symptoms are not completely resolved then re-visit your doctor for further instructions- you may need to undergo a further course of treatment.

5. Understand that antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections. They are can’t combat viral infections like a cold or influenza. So asking for antibiotics in the first few days of getting a cold or the flu is counterproductive. However if you find that your condition worsens significantly changes after a few day… it is wise to go visit your health professional as you may have developed a secondary bacterial infection which may need to be treated with antibiotics.

So there you have it… the 5 Rules of antibiotic use.

Remember… Antibiotics are not effective against diseases caused by viruses.

At the first sign of a cold or the flu it is best to rest and take lots of fluids to help let your body heal itself. Of course if you are at all worried, do see your doctor, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t prescribe antibiotics!

Handy Hint: Help restore your intestinal flora with acidophilus

When taking a course of antibiotics it is also very wise to either eat yoghurt containing Lacotbacillus acidophilus or a Lactobacillus acidophilus supplement every day, while on your antibiotic regime.

You see, antibiotics are fantastic at killing both the bad and good bacteria in your intestines (your gut) which can cause some not so pleasant symptoms – diarrhoea, flatulence, stomach upsets and yeast infections (read Thrush here – which can occur just as easily in men as it does in women!).

So including acidophilus in your diet, will encourage the growth of your natural intestinal flora and restore the natural balance within your gut.

Source by Leonie Gully

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