6 Most Used Antibiotics To Treat Bacterial Infections

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Hidden germs, bacteria, and viruses can infect our bodies at any hour. Most bacteria, like probiotic bacteria in curd, are harmless and beneficial for our bodies. However, harmful bacteria also exist to challenge your immunity and good health.


Taking antibiotics is a quick way to fight bacteria and other infections. Regular intake can reduce their impact as germs can develop resistance. How safe are antibiotics, and in which situation? Let us get a closer understanding of antibiotics, some most-used drugs for bacterial infections, and other beneficial things.

What Is A Bacterial Infection?

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Bacteria are tiny microorganisms that come in many shapes and sizes. They grow in several environments, such as soil, water, in and on our bodies. For example, gut bacteria help in food digestion, a unique point for gut health.

Some bacteria can enter our bodies or grow on the skin, causing infection. Children and adults are prone to it, even the elderly. Here are common bacterial infections and illnesses:

  • Cholera
  • Strep throat
  • Food poisoning
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Lyme disease (tick disease)
  • Pneumonia
  • Tetanus
  • Urinary tract infections (a common problem in most women)
  • Vaginosis
  • Whooping Cough

Remember, antibiotics for bacterial infections are not self-medication drugs. They are general physician-prescribed. So, keep them away from toddlers and patients fighting anxiety or mental illness. Stay away from taking unnecessary antibiotics as they can harm your body’s antibody production in the long run.


Antibiotics For Bacterial Infections

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Antibiotics, also known as antibacterials, come in different brand names. It is because different antibiotics help in treating various bacterial infections. Here are six main classifications for antibiotics.

1.   Penicillins


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In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. It remains one of the most valuable drugs in medical history.

Uses and benefits: Penicillin antibiotics treat respiratory tract infections (like pneumonia) by preventing bacterial growth and stopping cell wall formation around bacteria. It also treats scarlet fever and conditions of the throat, gum, mouth, skin, and ear, blood, and meningitis.

Taken as: Tablets, capsules, injection, oral suspension

Side Effects: Diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, allergic reactions

Drug Interaction: Avoid taking penicillin antibiotic with drugs for arthritis, gout problems, itchy and dry skin   

2.   Cephalosporins


These antibiotics treat bacterial infections by impeding bacterial cell wall formation. All cephalosporin drugs are FDA-approved.   


Uses and benefits: Cephalosporin antibiotics treat skin, bone, lung, sexually transmitted, and urinary infections. They also treat strep throat, ear infections, sinus, meningitis, and other health problems.


Taken as: Oral and intravenous injection. Sometimes doctors may recommend pregnant women cephalosporins but not breastfeeding women.


Side Effects: Skin rashes are the most common side effects of this antibiotic. It can also cause stomach upset, diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting, and nausea.

Drug Interaction: Do not take a cephalosporin if you are on medications for heartburn or acid reflux    


3.   Tetracyclines


This antibiotic treats bacterial infections that you get from contaminated food or infected animals (ticks and mites). Pregnant mothers and children younger than eight years should avoid taking tetracyclines.


Uses and benefits: Tetracyclines help cure eye, skin/acne, genital, and urinary infections. It also treats certain types of stomach ulcers.


Taken as: Capsule, tablet, syrup


Side Effects: Mouth sores, black tongue, skin redness and rashes, body aches, appetite loss, headache, dizziness, diarrhea, intestinal discomfort, dark urine are regular side effects

Drug Interaction: Tetracycline antibiotics may clash with blood thinners, antacids, or vitamin and mineral supplements.

4.   Macrolides


First discovered in the 1950s, this class of antibiotics has large ring structures and inhibits bacterial growth.

Uses and benefits: Macrolides are valuable in treating pneumonia, lung, skin, soft tissue, and sexually transmitted infections.

Taken as: Oral (tablets, capsules) and non-oral route (injection, suspension, topical)

Side Effects: Minor side effects include nausea, diarrhea. Allergy and hepatitis are serious side effects.

Drug Interaction: Macrolide drug interactions can affect the heart.


5.   Quinolones


These are broad-spectrum antibiotics that stop bacterial growth by breaking the bacterial chromosomes.

Uses and benefits: Quinolones help treat lung, sinus, and urinary tract infections. They also treat bone and joint infections, typhoid fever, pneumonia.

Taken as: Orally

Side Effects: Although quinolones are a safe medication, they can cause stomach upset, skin rash, headaches, and seizures.

Drug Interaction: When you are on quinolone, avoid taking antacids and ion-containing drugs to reduce absorption.


6.   Nitrofurantoin


Human bowels are a ready place for urinary infections. Improper bowel hygiene can cause bacterial growth in private parts. Nitrofurantoin treats and prevents bacterial infection in genital areas.

Uses and benefits: Antibacterial medicine Nitrofurantoin treat urinary and kidney infections in adults and infants.

Taken as: Capsule or liquid form

Side Effects: Drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, weakness are common side effects       

Drug Interaction: Nitrofurantoin may interact with other medications or supplementary vitamins and herbs. Avoid this drug if you are taking medicines for kidney disease.

Each antibiotic group mentioned above is individual and cannot get clubbed with others in the group.


Final Thoughts

Know your antibiotics, dosage period, and side effects to avoid confusion and uneasiness. It is essential to keep your antibiotics in a safe corner away from children and pets. In addition, you must complete a course of antibiotics till your doctor advises you to stop the further medication. Ensure that you book a doctor’s consultation immediately when you sense a health problem or side effect.

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