It is important to take antibiotics in the correct way. If you do not, this may reduce how well they work. For example, some antibiotics need to be taken with food and others should be taken on an empty stomach. If you do not take your antibiotics in the right way it will affect their absorption (how much gets into the body), and therefore they may not work as well. So, follow the instructions as given by your doctor and on the leaflet that comes with the antibiotic you are prescribed.
There are various antibiotics available and they come in various different brand names. Antibiotics are usually grouped together based on how they work. Each type of antibiotic only works against certain types of bacteria or parasites. This is why different antibiotics are used to treat different types of infection.
The main types of antibiotics include:
- Penicillins – for example, penicillin V, flucloxacillin, and amoxicillin.
- Cephalosporins – for example, cefaclor, cefadroxil, cefalexin.
- Tetracyclines – for example, tetracycline, doxycycline, and minocycline.
- Aminoglycosides – for example, gentamicin, amikacin, and tobramycin.
- Macrolides – for example, erythromycin, azithromycin, and clarithromycin.
- Sulfonamides and trimethoprim – for example, co-trimoxazole.
- Metronidazole and tinidazole.
- Quinolones – for example, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, and norfloxacin.
Who Needs Antibiotics for Flu Complications?
When you have the flu, your body’s immune system may be weakened. The lungs become irritated and inflamed. Both make is easier for bacteria to invade your body. What kind of bacterial complications can develop?
♦ Pneumonia, infection of the lungs
♦ Bronchitis, infection of the airways that lead to the lungs
♦ Sinusitis, infection of the sinuses
♦ Ear infections, which are most common in children
The most worrying, and most common, is pneumonia. “Bacterial pneumonia is the most likely cause of death in older people with the flu,” says Christine Hay, MD, assistant professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “It can be a serious problem for young children with the flu as well.”
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Who’s most at risk? The odds that you’ll end up with a bacterial complication depend on several factors. If you’re a healthy young adult, the chances are low. But the flu and its complications are considered high risk for people who:
♦ Are pregnant during flu season
♦ Are over 50 years old
♦ Are under 2 years old
♦ Have a chronic lung disease such as asthma, bronchitis, or other conditions
♦ Have heart or kidney disease
♦ Have diabetes or another metabolic disorder
♦ Have severe anemia
♦ Have a suppressed immune system, either from a disease or its treatment
♦ Live in a nursing home or care facility
Always take the entire course of antibiotics as directed by your doctor. Even though you may feel better before your medicine is entirely gone, follow through and take the entire course. This is important for your healing. If an antibiotic is stopped in mid-course, bacteria may be partially treated and not completely killed. Bacteria may then become resistant to that antibiotic. Overuse of antibiotics has led to some bacteria mutating and becoming resistant to some antibiotics, which may then not work when really needed. For example, meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that has become resistant to many different antibiotics and is difficult to treat.
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