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Safety with Antibiotics

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Antibiotic is a generic term used to describe any chemical or drug that is used to treat infection caused by bacteria and other pathogens by either destroying them or inhibiting their growth. (1)

We are sometimes prescribed antibiotics by our doctors to treat diseases caused primarily by bacteria or in some cases in order to prevent the occurrence of secondary bacterial infection if the primary infection is one caused by a virus.

With increasing cases of antibiotic resistance and improper usage of potent drugs that kill pathogens being reported the world over, here is a list of things you should and should and not do when prescribed antibiotics:


1. Inform your doctor of any medical condition you have and the medication you may be taking for it, before s/he writes out a prescription.

2. Inform your doctor if you are allergic to any particular antibiotic group such as sulfa/sulpha drugs or penicillin group drugs.

3. You must also tell your doctor if you are on contraceptive pills or have a tendency to develop yeast infections often.

4. Tell your doctor if you have a sensitive digestive system so that lower potency or alternative drugs may be prescribed for you.

5. Ask your doctor if you are likely to experience any side effects and if s/he can recommend some medicines to help you overcome those side effects.

6. Take the antibiotic as prescribed. This means the antibiotic should be taken at the stated times, the number of times in a day for the duration of the course of the treatment.

7. In case you experience any discomfort while on course, you must consult your doctor at the earliest opportunity.

8. Read the antibiotic/drug literature carefully for more information if you are looking for it.

9. Store the antibiotics as suggested in the literature. This generally means storage in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight, heat and humidity.


1. Do not stop the prescribed antibiotic course midway. Many people get on an antibiotic program but stop midway as they see their symptoms disappear after a few days of antibiotic usage.

Remember that though your disease may have stopped exhibiting symptoms as the infection-causing bacteria may have been weakend by the antibiotic, the pathogen may still be alive to re-infect your system. Worse, the surviving bacteria may recover and possibly mutate -- now being resistant to that particular antibiotic. It will be harder to get rid of if it comes on the rebound. (2)

2. Do not consume foods (including alcohol) that the doctor or antibiotic literature suggests will reduce the efficacy of the drug. Such foods may interact badly with your system or slow down their absorption into the blood.

3. In case if you have missed out on a dose, do not double up on the next dosage. You must continue with the dosage as normal when the next dosage timings come.

4. Do not use the antibiotics left over from someone else's treatment at home for yourself just because you seem to be coming down with similar symptoms. Consult a doctor.

5. Do not take antibiotics for colds, flus, sore throats, ear infections, sinusitis, coughs or any other malaise that are caused by a virus, unless the doctor recommends it. (3)

6. Do not leave the drugs in reach of children.

7. Do not leave them uncovered exposed to air.


1. Definition of Antibiotic; MedicineNet.com; October, 2011; http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=8121

2. Antibiotics: Misuse puts you and others at risk; Mayo Clinic; October, 2011; http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antibiotics/FL00075

3. A Patient's Guide to Proper Antibiotic Usage; Pharmacy Times; October, 2011; http://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2004/2004-12/2004-12-4835


Mamta Singh is a published author of the books

Migraines for the Informed Woman – Tips From A Sufferer: ISBN: 978-81-291-1517-1
Publisher: Rupa & Co. URL: http://www.amazon.com/Migraines-Informed-Woman-Tips-Sufferer/dp/8129115174/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298990756&sr=1-2

Mentor Your Mind – Tested Mantras For The Busy Woman: ISBN: 978-81-207-5973-2
Publisher: Sterling Publishers; URL: http://www.amazon.com/Mentor-Your-Mind-Tested-Mantras/dp/8120759737/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316063179&sr=8-1

and the upcoming

The Urban Woman’s Integrated Fitness Guide
Publisher: Hay House India

She is also a seasoned business, creative and academic writer. She is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer & sports nutritionist through IFA, Florida USA. Mamta is an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist SAC Dip U.K. She is the lead writer and holds Expert Author status in many well-received health, fitness and nutrition sites.

She runs her own popular blogs on migraines in women and holistic health. Mamta holds a double Master's Degree in Commerce and Business. She is a registered practitioner with the UN recognised Art of Living Foundation. Please visit www.mamtasingh.com

Reviewed November 1, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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