Communication with your doctor about taking antibiotics safely and understanding how they work will help you take care of yourself and your family. Here are some tips about antibiotics from JCHC:
- Antibiotics specifically target bacterial infections and are not effective against viral illness, such as the common cold or influenza.
- Take the full course of treatment prescribed. Less than a full course may lead to mutation, and “superbugs”. Superbugs are more difficult to treat.
- Antibiotics affect other treatments, so make sure that you ask questions and tell your doctor about all your medications.
- Understand how food affects the antibiotic that you are taking. Food can increase or decrease absorption and effectiveness. The directions on the bottle tell you when is best to take the pill. Alcohol is best avoided while taking antibiotics. Antibiotics can cause your normal intestinal flora to be altered, sometimes leading to diarrhea – this is unfortunate, but a harmless side effect of antibiotics.
- Some antibiotics cause extra sensitivity to sunlight. You may need to cover up, wear a hat, and use sunscreen while taking that type of antibiotic.
- If you are helping your child, there are some tips to remember. First, shake their liquid medicines well. (This means as long as it takes to sing the birthday song, twice). Some suspensions need to be kept in the refrigerator, some don’t, and some shouldn’t, as it makes them too thick and difficult to pour/measure and can reduce potency. The bottle that you receive from the pharmacy should be clearly marked. Some antibiotics just taste better if refrigerated; some become bitter when you do. If they should be refrigerated and are accidentally left out, check with your pharmacist before using it. Don’t use a suspension if it has changed color, taste, or smell. It’s probably spoiled.
So remember, talk to your doctor and pharmacist about your antibiotics. Ask questions, and follow the directions on the bottle.
Be patient, antibiotic therapy will take time to be effective.
Keep hydrated and get plenty of rest.
Hope you feel better soon!