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Some Pros and Cons of Antibiotics

Flu Information
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Since the 1940s, antibiotics have been an essential component to saving countless lives and have offered a major line of defense against infectious diseases. However, through the years, bacteria have developed resistance to certain types of antibiotics, and researchers have found that taking antibiotics for non-bacterial infections such as viruses is ineffective. In fact, taking antibiotics every time you get sick can actually harm your body instead of helping you get well. There are both pros and cons of antibiotics, and it can be helpful to know some of these when deciding whether to take antibiotics for an illness.

Pros and Cons of Antibiotics

Pros of Antibiotics

Following are several of the most prominent advantages of taking antibiotics:

  • Can treat many infections: antibiotics can treat a wide variety of infections such as strep throat, tonsillitis, and sinusitis.
  • Easy to administer: most antibiotics are easy to administer since you can take them orally or via injection.
  • Few side effects: many antibiotics have few side effects, which makes them the perfect option when you feel extremely sick.
  • Cost-effective: most types of older antibiotics—especially those with generic alternatives—are often very affordable on any budget, even if you lack health insurance.

Cons of Antibiotics

While there are many benefits of antibiotics, there are also several disadvantages, such as:

  • Allergic reactions: depending on your drug allergies, you may be extremely allergic to some types of antibiotics, such as those containing sulfa. Unfortunately, sulfa is present in many common antibiotics, so it may be more difficult to find a suitable medication for your illness.
  • Drug-resistant bacteria: if you do not take the full dose of an antibiotic, it only kills some of the bacteria in your system and can make the rest antibiotic-resistant, which means antibiotics may not work as well for you in the future.
  • Potential side effects: while many antibiotics have few side effects, some can trigger nasty problems such as digestion issues, discomfort, nausea, diarrhea, and sensitivity to light.

When deciding whether to take antibiotics for an illness, it is important to remember that there are both pros and cons of antibiotics, and you should keep both in mind. Before deciding whether antibiotic use is a good idea for your specific illness, you should visit your doctor, as he or she can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Your doctor can also discuss the potential pros and cons of antibiotics with you.

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