Home Science & Technology Say No To Self-Medicating With Antibiotics!

Say No To Self-Medicating With Antibiotics!

With any illness, it is critical to address the underlying cause, whether it's bacterial or viral. Antibiotics will not kill any viruses.


Let’s just get into flashback when you were suffering from cold. What did you do at that time.?

You ran to the nearest pharmacy nearly sneezing your nose off.  You ask something for a headache/cold, from the pharmacist .After a brief conversation  — the pharmacist with or without a qualifying degree gives you a long list of antibiotics, an antihistamine and a blister pack of antacids. You pay, get back to your home and get a glass of water, pop a tablet of each drug into your mouth, gulp them down without thinking even once that – do you really need to take these antibiotics?

I could wish and hope that this is a rare scenario, but the truth is that it’s pretty common across the world.

The first rule of antibiotic use is that they are used to fight bacterial infections and they don’t work on viruses. A common cold or cough is most likely caused by a viral infection.

Now just think those antibiotics which you gulped down were not at all needed.

Taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that may resist antibiotic treatment.

Antibiotics only cure certain infections due to bacteria — and if taken carelessly, you may get more serious health problems than you bargained for.

Some rare side effects of antibiotics are Formation of kidney stones, abnormal blood clotting, blood disorders, deafness, bloody diarrhea,etc.

With any illness, it is critical to address the underlying cause, whether it’s bacterial or viral. Antibiotics will not kill cold or flu viruses.

But this doesn’t means that you should completely avoid the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics can save people’s lives, and if you need them, you should get them as quickly as you can. Since only a doctor can prescribe antibiotics, this means that you should talk to your doctor if you think you might need them.

Never ever use your relatives, family or friend’s leftover antibiotics from last winter’s illness. What was prescribed the last time by a doctor may not be right this time. Do not take drugs that were prescribed for someone else with similar symptoms.

There is concern worldwide that antibiotics are being overused. This overuse is contributing toward the growing number of bacterial infections that are becoming resistant to antibacterial medications.

Alexander Fleming, speaking in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1945 said: “Then there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug, make them resistant.”

As predicted, almost 70 years ago by the man who discovered the first antibiotic, drug resistance is upon us.

Dr. Abdul Ghafur, Consultant, Infectious Diseases And Clinical Microbiology, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, was in the small team of professionals who put together the “Chennai Declaration”, which has come to be recognised as a sort of milestone for activities against antimicrobial resistance in India.

Growing antibiotic resistance has been well-documented in the recently released National Treatment Guidelines for Antimicrobial Use in Infectious Diseases (for medical professionals) that the Centre drew up. The report articulates the urgent need to follow guidelines: “Antimicrobial resistance in disease pathogens has become a matter of great public health concern globally.” Attributing it to the widespread use and availability of practically all antimicrobials across the counter for human and animal consumption, it sets out clear dividing lines for doctors to follow.

“The ‘Chennai Declaration’ created awareness among the medical fraternity about the need to control antibiotic usage. Of course, it could be argued that we should have taken action on this at least a decade earlier,” says Dr. R. Ramasubramanian, consultant, Infectious Diseases, and Director, Immune boosters, Adult Immunisation clinic at Apollo Hospitals, Chennai. The NDM-1 superbug scare played a key role in getting at least hospitals to wake up to the issue. However, he points out, the thing about this is that it is not rocket science, and only requires a change in mindset, among doctors and patients. Prescribing antibiotics for common viral infections, pharmacists selling antibiotics over the counter and a few precautions for hospital-based workers — using a hand rub before and after examining the patient, for instance — will go a long way in controlling the spread of resistant bacteria.

The antibiotics used in livestock are ingested by humans when they consume food.The transfer of resistant bacteria to humans by farm animals can cause infections in humans that may lead to adverse health consequences.

However, there are livestock products in the market that claim to be antibiotic-free. So look for such a label if you want to avoid this element.

Harbouring resistant bacteria could mean: longer periods of infection, more expensive drugs, longer hospital stays, greater chance of death.

Stop using antibiotics for common infections.You can ask the doctor if an antibiotic is required,let the doctor be the judge.Do not under dose or overdose. Complete the entire course of antibiotics that the doctor has prescribed, even if you feel better before.Build immunity, to prevent frequent infections, by eating healthy, drinking plenty of fluids, exercising well and try to keep your surroundings and let’s try to keep ourselves clean as we all know-

Being clean is sign of spiritual purity and goodness…!!!

And remember the pharmacist is not a doctor, he/she cannot prescribe any drugs, certainly not antibiotics.