When to Take Antibiotics

Infections are really common these days as we can hardly find a person who has never got infected in his life. Infections are a result of foreign bodies such as bacteria, viruses or other microbes entering our body, multiplying and causing disease to the host’s body. Whether the infection is bacterial or viral, people tend to seek antibiotics for their treatment. This is a perfect example of poor self-medication as they tend to have their own effects, limitations and side effects, the knowledge of which is very important to have.

Here, in this article, we will tell you all about effectiveness, limitations and side effects of antibiotics. Any 24-hour clinic will inform you of all the dangerous side-effects of bacterial infections.

Antibiotics are any form of medicine (usually penicillin or its derivatives) that destroy microorganisms and/or restrain their growth. In order to clearly understand the effectiveness and limitations of these drugs, it’s important to have prior knowledge of how they work.


Antibiotics help our immune system to fight against microorganisms by affecting things that are uncommon between the cells of intruders and the cells of the host. As we now know how they work, let’s talk about the effectiveness and limitations of these drugs.

Limitations and Effectiveness

As we already know that there are different types of infections, we will have a look at the effectiveness and limitations of the antibiotics in case of bacterial and viral infections.

Bacterial Infections

The main difference between the composition of the bacterial cell and human cells in the presence of cells wall which human cells don’t have. The cells also differ in the structure of cell membranes and ways in which protein is built and DNA is copied.

Antibiotics identify these differences, target bacteria and kill the pathogens by keeping them from building up a cell wall, dissolving their membranes and/or affecting their protein building and DNA copying mechanism.

This makes these drugs very effective when it comes to bacterial infections as the infection gets better once pathogens are killed or controlled.

Viral Infections

When a virus enters a body, it targets a cell’s replication mechanism and many copies of the virus are made. The virus then leaves the cell after its destruction.

Antibiotics which work by identifying the intruder cells are unable to find the virus as the viral envelop, external coating of the virus, is almost similar to the host’s cell membrane. The second reason is the virus changes its proteins as it further mutates.

Failing to identify their target, these drugs are not effective at all against viral infections.

Side Effects

No doubt bacteria are harmful to our health but there also exist bacteria in our body that are really helpful for our health and immune system.

Antibiotics, while killing harmful bacteria may also cause harm to helpful bacteria, damaging the balance of microbes in our body, making it vulnerable to future infections.

This situation may also take place if you take them for viral infections as they start killing off healthy bacteria. Visit a 24-hour clinic to learn more about the side-effects of different kinds of bacteria.

These antibacterial drugs surely help our immune system to fight off harmful bacteria but they also affect our immune system in a bad way. They decrease the natural efficiency of our immune system to fight against intruders by making it lazy and weak.

Antibiotics are found to weaken brain cells and hinder their growth resulting in memory loss and other serious health issues.

It is also found that if used extensively, broad-spectrum antibiotics can cause bacteria to develop resistance against these drugs over time.

When to Use

Some infections go away on their own and you don’t have to take any antibacterial drugs at all.

If the infection is not getting better, before taking these drugs, make sure it’s a bacterial infection or else it may cause harm.

Lessen the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and take only narrow-spectrum antibiotics which are made specifically for the required purpose.

Always consult your doctor or pharmacist when it comes to the use of antibiotics as different drugs need different conditions to be used e.g. timings, dosage, diet, etc.