Sometimes it has to be an antibiotic – secondary infection through bacteria
During the cold weather season, exogenous bacteria has an opportunity to overcome our ailing immune system and penetrate into our body cells. Often it is not the foreign organisms themselves that make us sick, but their metabolic products – the bacterial toxins. It puts our immune system on alert. Illness often occurs because an additional infection ties us back to our sickbed again after having just survived a simple cold. The doctors call this “a super-infection or secondary infection”. Pneumonia, streptococcus or staphylococcus and bacteria, such as the genus Haemophilus Influenzae are often triggered off by a common cold.
So a super-infection is not “super” because the bacteria may consist of a harmless cold which quickly turns into a far more serious inflammation of the paranasal and frontal sinuses, the middle ear, tonsils, larynx, bronchi or lungs. If after about a week of recovering from flu, symptoms such as fever, head and body aches, cough, runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and coughing, increased with thick mucus which is often discoloured – yellowish-greenish, a trip to the doctor is then inevitable. He will then weigh up if the use of an antibiotic is necessary.
“True” antibiotics are metabolic products of fungi or bacteria and therefore are natural products. They kill, just like their chemically produced relatives, other micro organisms such as bacteria or inhibit their reproduction. With their discovery, dangerous and often fatal diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, anthrax, typhoid or syphilis were suddenly curable. This is good, as they help our weakened immune system to cope with so many pathogenic germs more quickly and easily.
What is not so good, is the increased and very frequent and uncritical use of antibiotics. The number of people resistant to antibiotic resistant bacterial strains have become more and more, so that now the selection and treatment is greatly limited, even with serious illnesses.
In everyday life, there is often not enough time to find the appropriate antibiotic for an illness or select one through accurate determination of the type of bacteria in the laboratory. The physician then has to select and prescribe a suitable antibiotic from his own experience and on the basis of a cold or an illness with unclear symptoms, a so-called “broad-spectrum antibiotic “. This can make many different kinds of bacteria simultaneously harmless. These include penicillins, amoxicillin, cephalosporins, quinolones such as ciprofloxacin, macrolides such as azithromycin and tetracyclines such as doxycycline. Their effectiveness against the various pathogens is reviewed regularly.
In order for these antibiotics to remain effective as long as possible, we must deal with them responsibly. So, do not keep any antibiotic leftovers for the “next time”, and never take any antibiotics without a prescription! Also keep in mind that the vast majority of cold symptoms are not caused by bacteria, but viruses. The misuse of antibiotics does not make you recover faster, but only promotes the formation of resistance!
No effect without side effects! In particular, highly potent drugs such as broad spectrum antibiotics often have a higher level of side effects. Typical side effects include rashes, allergies and an increased sensitivity to the sun as well as gastrointestinal problems, diarrhoea or fungal infections of the vagina in women. Many of these rarely occurring side effects are annoying but fortunately not dangerous, go away on their own or are easily treated.
All or nothing! – How to use antibiotics properly:
Pay attention to taking your antibiotic regularly and at the stated times! In order to obtain constant active ingredients in the blood, it is important to adhere to the same time intervals between taking the antibiotic and not just taking it at a whim.
“1 x per day” is at the same time always.
“2 x daily” means “every twelve hours”, eg. 8am and 8pm
“3 times a day” means “every eight hours”, eg. 7am – 3pm – 11pm.
Keep to the duration of the therapy! There is a particular duration of therapy for each antibiotic which has to be strictly observed, depending on its active ingredient. If the treatment (eg. after the first improvement) is terminated too early, individual bacteria can “survive” and can allow the disease to flare up again. The treatment may only be terminated if it is ensured that all the bacteria is killed, which is often the case after two to three days after symptoms improve, or with the last tablet of the prescribed packet.
Make sure you take them correctly, during, before or after meals! The correct timing of the tablet intake depends on the drug and its active ingredients. Some but not all antibiotics may interact with foods containing calcium (milk and dairy products!), magnesium, zinc or iron, and should therefore be taken with the appropriate food and not with water containing a significant amount of minerals. Take the antibiotic half an hour before meals with “light” mineral or tap water. The same applies for medications that are covered, for example, with an enteric coating which will only remain stable when the stomach is empty.
Take a sufficiently high dosage! Pay attention to the correct dosage (Some antibiotics are dosed according to body weight.) By no means should you reduce the prescribed dose arbitrarily because you are afraid of the side effects! Low doses pose an increased risk of developing resistance, but also have a decreased or insufficient effect!
Ask for the appropriate medicine or dosage form!
If you have difficulty swallowing or the tablets are generally too big, ask us for alternatives that your doctor may prescribe. Some (but not all!) tablets can be divided or replaced by effervescent tablets or juices. Dry dosage forms are usually used to make the sensitive active ingredients last longer. These dry dosage forms must be prepared prior to use with a well-defined amount of water.
Caution: interactions! Many antibiotics can enter into interactions that alter both the effect of the antibiotic as well as the drug, and so endanger the therapy, not only with food but also with other drugs. These include warfarin or phenprocoumon, antacids, H2 receptor antagonists, theophylline, carbamazepine and statins.
Antibiotics and the pill! Some antibiotics may accelerate the reduction of the anti-baby pill’s hormones. More often, however, the fear is coupled with the fact that diarrhoea impairs the effect of the pill.
Ask us, we are here to help you!