Antibiotics: what are they and how do they work? - Printable Version
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Antibiotics: what are they and how do they work? - NatashaKundi - 07-30-2010
What are antibiotics?
Antibiotics are the chemical substances which have the ability to kill disease causing microorganisms. They are mostly used against bacterial infections. It is an interesting fact that antibiotics are derived from the bacteria and mold. These microbes release such chemicals which can be used as weapons against other harmful microbes. There are also some antibiotics which are synthesized in the laboratory.
There are different varieties of antibiotics depending on the infection a patient is suffering from. During the disease of cancer, the white blood cells become weak and body becomes susceptible to various bacterial infections. Doctors prescribe antibiotics to block these infections. Antibiotics only work against bacterial infections; they do not work against viral infections because viruses are not the living microorganisms.
How do antibiotics work?
Antibiotics work in two different ways either by killing the bacteria or blocking its function. They only attack the bacterial population present in the body and causing the disease, they do not affect the cell of the body. It is an unfortunate fact that though antibiotics are being used constantly but now bacteria have developed resistance against these drugs. It is a very natural process that new antibiotics with more effectiveness are being developed and bacterial genome is revolutionizing against these newly synthesized antibiotics.
An antibiotic has also the ability to convert glucose in the body into energy. It produces a protective wall against bacteria and does not allow them to enter the cell. It also protects the body from further infection and prevents the bacteria to multiply in number.
Side effects of Antibiotics
Though antibiotics are useful in curing the human body against bacterial infections but they also have some side effects. A patient can suffer from slight headache to extreme allergic reaction. Another side effect is diarrhea in which the balance of the intestinal flora gets affected and disrupts the function of the useful bacteria present in the intestine. In some cases, antibiotics can react with other drugs administered along with them and cause other infections.
Advantages of Antibiotics
In the past before the discovery of antibiotics, the diseases like cholera and diarrhea would be fatal as these diseases dehydrate the body and makes the individual weak. Antibiotics have the credit of saving so many lives by killing the microbes causing certain diseases. In the disease of tuberculosis, antibiotics play an important role in eradicating the bacteria. To protect the patient from having side effects, doctors prescribe such antibiotics which suit person’s body.
Disadvantages of Antibiotics
As the saying is, “Excess of everything is bad”, similarly if antibiotics are used in excess amount, they react the other way round. Patient can suffer from diarrhea and abdominal cramps. If antibiotics are used repeatedly, they also are harmful for the body because then the specific bacteria develops resistance against that particular antibiotic and it may result in the cause of cancer. Sometimes doctors do not know about the particular drug and they prescribe the drugs which have broad spectrum, it may lead to the removal of both harmful as well as beneficial bacteria from the body. The other disadvantage is that they may decrease the iron level, magnesium and calcium level from the body. If the iron is removed from the body, it results in sickle cell anemia.
Below is the list of few antibiotics used against various bacterial infections:
RE: Antibiotics: what are they and how do they work? - protoxin - 08-16-2010
If antibiotics don't prevent against viral infections, why do we take antibiotics in viral fever?
RE: Antibiotics: what are they and how do they work? - Jessica - 08-17-2010
Antibiotics fight against bacterial infections, they are not anti-viral. Taking antibiotics knowingly for viral infections is likely a mistake. Some doctors just prescribe it because without doing couple of tests it is hard to tell whether or not the infection is viral or bacterial.
RE: Antibiotics: what are they and how do they work? - princehappy - 08-19-2010
Antibiotics are also known as antibacterials, and they are drugs used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Bacteria are microorganisms that can sometimes cause disease in humans and animals. The singular word for bacteria is a bacteria. and the work of the Antibiotics A bactericidal antibiotic kills bacteria. Penicillin is a bactericide. A bactericide is generally interferes with the formation of the cell wall of bacteria or their cell contents.