Most of the time when you come down with a common cold or the flu, it is the result of a virus. Symptoms such as sneezing, sore throat, coughing, runny nose, nasal congestion and sinus pressure can be treated with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine, and will usually go away after one or two weeks. However, complications such as pneumonia, ear and sinus infections can also occur with a cold, which would then require the patient to be prescribed a course of antibiotics.
Antibiotics are prescribed for various types of bacterial infections. Pneumonia, ear and sinus infections as mentioned above, in addition to skin infections, meningitis, and urinary tract infections. The type of antibiotic that is prescribed depends on the kind of infection that the patient has, and there are hundreds of different types of antibiotics that are available, though the main classes that are prescribed by physicians like Dr. Ali Ghahary include: Penicillins, Cephalosporins, Macrolides, Fluoroquinolones, Sulfonamides, and Tetracyclines.
Antibiotics work by killing the bacteria caused by the infection and prevent it from multiplying. However, antibiotics can also wreck major havoc on our guts and can kill the good bacteria and protective organisms. They also come with a wide range of side effects with the most common ones being nausea, stomach upset and diarrhea. This is why doctors and pharmacists will often recommend that antibiotics be taken with food and that you also include probiotics in your diet while on medication in order to help restore the good bacteria that was lost.
When prescribed antibiotics it is important that you take them exactly as directed by your physician. Not following directions, either by taking a higher or lesser dose, or by not finishing the entire course of medication, can result in antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance means that the medication loses its ability to fight bacteria, allowing the bacteria to continue to grow and become more difficult to treat.
More information on antibiotics and antibiotic resistance can be found by clicking here.