Antibiotics – 5 mistakes when taking them

Antibiotics  are only prescribed for bacterial infections. The drug can help with various diseases and inflammations. Antibiotics are often used for cystitis, infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract or suspected Lyme disease after tick bites. If antibiotics are taken too often or incorrectly, bacteria can develop resistance to the drug. In addition, other important points should be observed when taking antibiotics and the following 5 mistakes avoided.

1. Antibiotics: Milk can reduce the effect

Certain antibiotics lose   their effectiveness when combined with milk  or other high-calcium products such as  yogurt . When the drug comes into contact with calcium, a molecular “clump” forms which cannot be absorbed by the intestinal wall. Thus, the active ingredient does not get into the bloodstream and remains ineffective.

This applies, among other things, when taking the broad-spectrum antibiotic tetracycline, which is often used in infectious diseases, and norfloxacin (urinary tract infections). There should therefore be at least two hours between ingesting and consuming dairy products.

If you are not sure whether the antibiotic can be combined with dairy products, you should read the package insert or seek medical advice.

2. Taking antibiotics and alcohol together

If you do not want to go without a glass of beer or wine despite an infection, you should inform yourself carefully before taking antibiotics. Some of the ingredients in the medicines can lose their effect if you drink alcohol, since the liver breaks down the ingredients more quickly together with the alcohol.

Undesirable side effects such as nausea, vomiting and headaches can also occur. In the worst case, tachycardia,  circulatory problems  and even a heart attack are possible. The triggers are antibiotic ingredients that block a certain enzyme (aldehyde dehydrogenase) that is responsible for breaking down the toxic acetaldehyde.

In addition, when the body is infected, it is already weak and needs rest. Alcohol consumption is an additional burden for the affected person, which can delay or negatively affect the progress of recovery.

Caution: Whether alcohol consumption is possible or forbidden should be taken from the package leaflet or clarified by a doctor or pharmaceutical specialist.

3. Antibiotics: Stop taking them early

Who does not know it: The antibiotic achieves its effect after just three days, the symptoms subside. You feel fit and no longer see the need to continue the therapy. But that’s a mistake.

An improvement does not mean that the bacteria have completely disappeared. The result: A possible resistance of the remaining bacteria, which can make the treatment of later infections much more difficult.

The duration of therapy mostly depends on the  active substance . For some antibiotics three tablets are enough, others have to be taken three times a day for a week. It is recommended to take the prescribed dose. If allergic reactions occur or no improvement in symptoms is observed, a doctor should also be consulted.

4. Antibiotics and birth control pills – additional contraception recommended

Antibiotics in particular, which have to be taken over a longer period of time, for example in the case of  Lyme disease  or stubborn infections, can override the effect of the pill. Possible  diarrheal diseases  can also influence the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill and weaken contraceptive protection.

If you want to be on the safe side with the combination of birth control pills and antibiotics, you should seek medical advice or use additional contraceptives, such as condoms, while taking them.

5. Taking antibiotics without medical advice

Since antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, it is not recommended to take old or unused tablets on your own initiative. This is pointless in viral infections and can potentially lead to undesirable side effects.  Medicines that relieve the symptoms can help with  colds or flu-like infections, and those affected should also rest and get a lot of sleep.

However, if the symptoms persist for more than four to five days without any improvement in the symptoms, medical advice should be sought.

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