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World Antibiotic Awareness Week

November 13- November 19

World Antibiotic Awareness Week

Antibiotics, as the word reflects (anti: against; biotic: pertaining to the living organism) are the powerful agents that are used to either kill or stop the growth of microbes. World’s first antibiotic was discovered accidentally when in 1927; Alexander Fleming was working in his lab on a bacterial culture. He noticed that mould has grown on the culture plate. When he examined the mould under the microscope he found that that mould had the ability to stop the growth of bacteria and hence Penicillin was discovered. World’s first-ever antibiotic.

How do Antibiotics Work?

The mode of action, as well as the spectrum of activity of every single antibiotic, is different. Some work by destroying the cell membranes of bacteria, some alter their genetic make-up, some stop their growth by inhibiting their replication. Every class of antibiotic vary in regard to showing action on the microbes.

Requirements for the Course of Antibiotic Therapy

To use an antibiotic, one should follow the following steps to achieve maximum therapeutic outcome:

  1. Only use antibiotics when prescribed by the physician
  2. Always check for allergic reactions first
  3. Always take the recommended dose
  4. Always take the next dose on time
  5. Never quit the therapy by yourself
  6. Complete the course as said by the physician even if you feel that you are fine
  7. Use the medicine as told for e.g. with food, on an empty stomach or during the meal

Usual Side Effects of Antibiotic Use

Using an antibiotic, one might feel:

  1. Nausea
  2. Diarrhoea because the normal flora of the intestine gets disturbed during the medication intake
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Altered sense of taste
  5. Bitter mouth
  6. Change in the colour of urine or stool
  7. If intolerant, might show a rapid allergic response


Self-medication has always been an issue in the case of the antibiotics. People nowadays practice wrong ways. Antibiotics if taken in a wrong manner can cause the bacteria to get resistant and the infection to prolong. When people think that they are fine, they stop the therapy in between which causes the bacteria to become more stronger and reluctant towards that specific antibiotic.

As a result, next time that specific antibiotic does not work on that person and he has to go for a much stronger, potent and expensive treatment option.

Therefore, antibiotics being the prescription drugs, must be taken under the complete supervision of a registered health care practitioner in prescribed manner, dose and time.

Image source: who.int

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