Antibiotics for pneumonia: the whole truth

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A hundred years ago, pneumonia was justifiably considered an extremely dangerous disease, because it often resulted in the death of the patient. The disease is still a threat today. But thanks to the advent of antibacterial drugs, its danger has been greatly reduced. When used properly as prescribed by a doctor, antibiotics ensure recovery and prevent complications of pneumonia. Conversely, uncontrolled use of these drugs can cause irreparable harm to a patient’s health.

What is pneumonia

A lung disease, mostly infectious, that affects the alveoli (the end sections of the lungs) and interferes with gas exchange at the lung level.

  • Chest pain
  • Cough with sputum
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • High fever

Symptoms occur in both mild and severe forms. This depends on the type of microorganism that caused the disease, the age of the patient and the general state of health. In adults who do not have serious pathologies, the disease runs easier. It is most dangerous for young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems.

When pneumonia is suspected, laboratory tests of blood and sputum, chest X-ray. For a more detailed examination, a CT scan (computed tomography) of the lungs is used. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor prescribes antibiotics. Their use is necessary to prevent further development of the infection and to prevent complications.

General principles of antibiotic therapy

Treatment begins as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed radiologically. Doctors use broad-spectrum antibiotics for therapy. After the exact determination of the microbial pathogen in the sputum, the treatment plan may be adjusted: the drug to which the identified microorganism is most sensitive is prescribed.

Also, replacement of one antibacterial agent with another is carried out if:

  • After taking the medication, no improvement occurs within 3 days.
  • Significant side effects have occurred from the use of a particular remedy.
  • The antibiotic is too toxic for a certain group of patients (children, pregnant women).

Decrease in fever, reduction of dyspnea, signs of intoxication, amount of sputum 72 hours after the start of treatment indicates the correct prescription of the drug.

Types of antibiotics for treating pneumonia

When prescribing drugs of this group, it is taken into account:

  • Type of pneumonia (cerebral pneumonia, aspiration pneumonia, focal pneumonia, prick pneumonia)
  • Age of the patient
  • The severity of the condition

New generation antibiotics are considered to be the most effective. They have the advantage of fast action on pathogens, fewer side effects, and better patient tolerance. Modern drugs have a long duration of action, so they are taken only 1-2 times a day. While 1st and 2nd generation antibacterials – Up to four.

Each group of antibacterials is effective against a specific type of pathogen. Thus, to combat pneumococci, the penicillin series is used. For pneumonia caused by chlamydia and mycoplasmas, prescribe macrolides, fluoroquinols. And cephalosporins destroy E. coli.

How the treatment is carried out

With a mild and moderate course of the disease, treatment at home is allowed. Therapy is carried out with antibiotics in tablets, capsules, in the form of suspension or syrup. In severe and complicated forms, injections are prescribed. If the disease is very severe, in the first days the drugs are administered intravenously, and later – intramuscular . And only after the condition improves, the patient is transferred to tablets. This change from one form of medicine to another is called «stepwise » course of treatment.

Antibacterials are prescribed for at least 7 days. Depending on the result of control radiological examination, then they are either cancelled or the treatment course is prescribed with the new antibiotics.

Antibiotics in the treatment of viral pneumonia

To treat viral pneumonia, completely different drugs are used than in the treatment of other forms of this disease. This is due to the fact that its causative agents are viruses that are not sensitive to antibacterial drugs. Therefore, their use is not only useless, but also dangerous. Using antibiotics incorrectly as prescribed causes the development of resistance in pathogenic bacteria. And when medications are really needed, they may not have the right effect. Antibiotics are used only if the pneumonia is mixed or if purulent complications develop.

Why antibiotics are ineffective

The decrease in the effectiveness of drugs is caused by:

  • Resistance of microorganisms to the particular drug prescribed for treatment
  • Frequent change of antibacterials, so that pathogenic microbes get used to them
  • Improperly chosen dosage

Most often such cases occur in patients who often self-medicate and take antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription.

Treatment of pneumonia cannot do without antibiotics. Today, it is the only effective measure to eliminate the microorganisms that caused the disease. But therapy should always be conducted under medical supervision. Self-administered and often improperly selected drugs, cause side effects, cause complications and extend the treatment period.

Antibiotics stop working: pneumonia and sepsis sets in. Antimicrobial resistance

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Polls show that about 35% of people believe that antibiotics kill viruses. Such drug ignorance costs lives: bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to medication. As a result, each year worldwide from antimicrobial resistance (antimicrobial resistance, resistance of bacteria to antibiotics — note. ed.) Approximately 700,000 people are dying.

Sepsis and Antimicrobial Resistance. Addiction of bacteria to antibiotics leads to both high mortality and economic decline.

Global losses due to antibiotic resistance were about $400 million of GDP in 2018, could rise to $8 trillion by 2050. Today 700,000 people around the world die each year from resistance, and from cancer — About 8 million 200 thousand. By 2050, the number of deaths from the effects of antimicrobial resistance will rise to 10 million per year.

Fewer and fewer new antibiotics appear on the market each year. Whereas in 1984 there were 18, in 1998 — 12, by 2012 that number had dropped to 4–5 per year.

Sepsis and pneumonia: prevention and treatment problems

As a result of increased antimicrobial resistance, the number of patients, such as pneumonia. In a severe case of the course of the disease occurs blood poisoning (sepsis), then saving the lives of patients — It takes several days.

In severe pneumonia, patients on IVH die in 64% of cases. To prevent sepsis it is necessary to administer antibiotics at least in the first four hours. Thus, if an antibiotic is administered in the first two to three hours, the lethality in sepsis increases one and a half times. If at the fifth or sixth hour of the disease, the mortality rate will already increase by half. The likelihood is minimal, of course, in the first hour of administering the drug.

While a number of bacteria were resistant to four groups of antibiotics in the 1980s, five were still effective. Lethality was in the order of 10–20%. From 2010 to the present time almost all antibiotic groups have become resistant to Klebsiella, except for three. As a result, patients infected with this bacterium had a fatality rate of 40–60%.

Antimicrobial resistance causes problems for clinics.

Among them — rapid spread of antimicrobial resistant bacteria by patients in the department, which significantly increases the risk of mortality of patients.

To change the situation, it is necessary to introduce the rational use of antibiotics and containment of resistance into the practice of medical organizations and programs.

Antibiotics in dentistry

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Antibiotics in dentistry are used to suppress pathogenic microflora in infectious-inflammatory processes of chronic nature, affecting the maxillofacial region of the head and oral cavity. Choosing antibiotics for periodontitis and other diseases, in order to avoid side effects, determining its dosage, method of administration and duration of treatment, consider the patient's somatic condition, his age, weight and features of the clinical picture.

Are antibiotics always effective? Dentistry – A branch of medicine dealing with foci of infections with anaerobic and aerobic pathogens of different groups, whose sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs varies. Because of this, it is advisable to use bactericidal (which destroys the cell membrane of the bacteria) and bacteriostatic (which inhibits their reproduction) drugs.

The action of antibiotics is different. They can accumulate in bone tissue («Tetracycline», «Lincomycin», «Metronidazole»), block the action of bacterial enzymes («Amoxiclav», «Amoxicillin»), disrupt the formation of the supporting polymer of the cell wall («Oxacillin»), disrupt protein synthesis («Azithromycin»).

According to the method of action on the pathological microflora there are three groups of antibiotics:

  • Penicillins in powders and tablets. The drug fights against strains of anaerobic, gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. They can be administered to patients of any age, which greatly expands the range of patients. Prescribed in the treatment of periodontal process of inflammatory etiology.
  • Cephalosporins. A group of antibiotics with a different spectrum of action, including four generations of drugs. It is reasonable to prescribe the drug for therapeutic purposes (in periodontal and odontogenic pathologies) and prophylactic ones – Before traumatic volumetric surgery.
  • Monobactams Have narrow-spectrum antibacterial activity. It is reasonable to use the drug for treatment of infections caused by aerobic gram-negative flora.
  • Carbapenems. These drugs are not only used in dentistry: antibiotics have a broad spectrum of action and are prescribed for the treatment of severe nosocomial infections of soft and bone tissues with multiresistant and mixed microflora.

Antibiotics in dentistry are used to treat chronic and acute pathologies of purulent-inflammatory nature. The list of such diseases includes periostitis, phlegmons, maxillary sinusitis, osteomyelitis, abscesses, periodontitis. Antibiotic treatment is relevant for the prevention of complications. Prescribe the drug as a course before elective surgery in patients with diabetes mellitus, endocarditis, glomerulonephritis.

Antibiotics for periodontitis

Progressive destruction of the alveolar processes, bleeding and looseness of the gums, loose teeth, persistent dental plaque – These are the symptoms of periodontitis. Treatment – Antibiotics, vitamins, antiseptic drugs, physiotherapy, local remedies, diet. Such a comprehensive approach allows to avoid serious complications – loss of teeth.

The treatment process is corrected at neglected forms of pathology and at exacerbation. Purulent discharge from gingival pockets with mechanical action, gingival abscesses and fistulas, abnormal tooth mobility and displacement – is chronic periodontitis. Antibiotics and other medications in such a case can be injected, for example «Clindamycin», as well as locally for the oral cavity, preparations for a quick effect in the form of sprays and ointments (Lincomycin), applications.

Enlargement of lymph nodes, their painfulness on palpation – a sign of intoxication or microbial allergy, which, if untreated, can cause periodontitis. Treatment with antibiotics in this case is supplemented by biogenic stimulants and broad-spectrum antiseptics.

Antibiotics for periodontitis – The gold standard in dentistry. Just like antibiotics for periodontal disease, they effectively destroy the structure of pathogens, thereby relieving inflammation, relieving pain and other symptomatic manifestations.

Antibiotics after tooth extraction

One of the surgical procedures in dentistry – wisdom tooth extraction. Preoperative antibiotics are prescribed for prophylactic purposes for patients with glomerulonephritis, endocarditis, diabetes mellitus, immunocompromised. Prophylaxis is possible in case of planned extraction, which is performed in case of atypical position and mobility of the unit, in chronic cysts and periodontitis, in case of mechanical damage without the possibility of recovery after sanitation of the oral cavity.

Also prescribed antibiotic after tooth extraction, if the surgery was performed in an emergency. More often «Ciprofloxacin», What antibiotics to take after a tooth extraction – Is prescribed by the dentist, taking into account the specific microflora. The main indications for such an extraction – Acute purulent inflammatory diseases with localization on bone tissue, abscesses, lymphadenitis, phlegmon. Antibiotics are used during tooth extraction if the tooth is not subject to conservative treatment, including filling, due to extensive destruction and loss of its functionality.

Antibiotics are prescribed for extraction of the wisdom tooth, if the integrity of the bone or soft tissue was violated during the procedure, which can subsequently provoke an infection, inflammation, and the formation of a flush. Antibiotics after wisdom tooth extraction are prescribed for these complications:

  • Alveolitis. Develops on day 3-4 after surgery and is characterized by a dry grayish hole with a whitish plaque. The pathology is characterized by an unpleasant odor, soreness, swelling of the cheek, fever up to 38-39 °C.
  • Apical periodontitis. Periodontal inflammation of infectious, traumatic or medicamentous nature is treated in complex. It is necessary to provide outflow of exudate, prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics, antiseptic treatment, canal filling.
  • Osteomyelitis. Purulent-necrotic process caused by pyogenic bacteria and mycobacteria. Hospitalization is necessary for this pathology. How and which antibiotics to take after tooth extraction for this pathology will be prescribed by the lead doctor.

What antibiotics are needed for dental treatment

Antibiotics for dental treatment are prescribed for inflammation of the bone tissue or the surrounding segment.

  • Abscess – frequently diagnosed inflammation of the tooth. Antibiotics are prescribed for gingival (flush), periodontal, or peripical localization of the infection. The cause of the abscess – Bacterial penetration into the dental pulp.
  • Antibiotics are prescribed when treating teeth affected by pulpitis. In this case, only the soft tissues are affected, there is no inflammation of the tooth root. Antibiotic helps with acute pain, temperature sensitivity, swelling, and other symptoms of pulpitis.

Antibiotic therapy in dentistry is provided for all infectious pathologies: necrotic process, sepsis, inflammation of the tooth root. Antibiotics are prescribed as a course of tablets, injections, ointments and solutions for applications.

Antibiotics in Food. How to choose a safe food product

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Most people are familiar with antibiotics as a medicine. Nowadays it is hard to find a person, adult or child, who hasn’t taken antibiotics at least once in his life.

Antibiotics were invented over 70 years ago to save lives and fight deadly diseases, but they are also a powerful allergen and can cause irreparable damage to the body.

Nowadays antibiotics are widely used in animal husbandry, poultry farming and fish farming.

Antibiotics are used to treat animals and birds as well as humans when they fall ill. Antibiotics are part of the so-called «growth hormones» To increase the rate of growth of livestock or poultry. If used improperly, they can get into milk, meat, and eggs.

Fish and seafood – This is a category of products that are literally bathed in antibiotics when grown under artificial conditions.

Antibiotics are used for heat treatment, sterilization, filtration in order to increase the shelf life in many technological processes in the manufacture of food products, which include milk and dairy products, meat, eggs, chicken, cheese, shrimp, and even honey.

Thus, it is clear that food products exposed to antibiotic contamination are exclusively animal, poultry and fish grown in artificial reservoirs. After administering antibiotics for a period until the antibiotic is eliminated from the body or its concentration drops below the acceptable limit, the animal may not be slaughtered in order to use its parts or whole as food. During the same period, it is also forbidden to use products from the animal (e.g., milk cannot be used even for processing – must simply be destroyed, usually poured into the ground, sewage, etc.). In case of non-compliance with regulations on the use of antibiotics they may be found in meat, milk, eggs, etc. (statistically they are found in 15-20% of all animal products).

In order to remove antibiotics from meat before slaughtering the animal should be kept 7−10 days without antibiotics. It is important to know that if the drug is left in the body of the animal, it is found mainly in the liver and kidneys.

Antibiotic content decreases as a result of heat treatment of meat of animals and poultry, when the drug together with the muscle juice passes into the broth, part of the drug is destroyed by the action of high temperatures. Compared to the initial amount, between 5.9% (grisin in poultry meat) and 11.7% (levomycetin in poultry meat) of the antibiotics in the muscle tissue remain after cooking. About 70% of the original amount of antibiotics passes into the broth. Approximately 20% of the original amount of antibiotics is destroyed by boiling.

Boiling, sterilization, fermentation have practically no effect on the antibiotic content of milk and dairy products. After boiling, 90 to 95% of the original amount of antibiotics remains in the milk, that is, 5 to 10% of their amount is destroyed. After sterilization, 92 to 100% of the original amount of antibiotics remains in milk. These data allow us to draw conclusions about the unsuitability of boiling and sterilization parameters for the destruction of antibiotics in milk.

Due to the fact that the groups of antibiotics used in humans and animals in agriculture are the same, residual amounts of antibiotics in food contribute to the emergence of resistant strains in humans as well. Accordingly, people who consume such products develop an immunity to taking antibiotics, and increasingly stronger drugs are required to obtain the expected effect of treatment.

Under the influence of antibiotics, the body loses the ability to resist various infections on its own. And, in addition, their widespread use has led to the emergence of bacterial strains that are resistant to these drugs, and, in the end, a person may be unprotected against infections and microorganisms.

The presence of antibiotics in the body can cause severe allergic reactions accompanied by severe itching, rashes, and in rare cases – swelling. Allergic effects occur even when antibiotics are very low in the food. For the last 40 years the number of people with allergic diseases has increased tenfold, especially among children.

Prolonged presence of antibiotics in the body may cause irritation of mucous membranes of the stomach, exacerbation of ulcerative and ulcerative states, imbalance of microflora in the intestines, disorders of the liver, kidneys, gall bladder, reactions of the nervous and circulatory systems in case of individual intolerance to antibacterial components.

Antibiotics from the body of a nursing woman can get into breast milk and cause weakening of the immune system and health problems in newborns.

Given the possible risk of harm to human health, legislation has established standards for the content of the most commonly used antibiotics in foods such as milk and dairy products, meat, including poultry, eggs and egg products: levomycetin, tetracycline group, streptomycin, penicillin, grisin, bacitracin. Their content in food products is not allowed (within the limits defined by the relevant methodologies), which is important for consumers to be aware of.

Rising resistance to antibiotics is reaching dangerously high levels worldwide. The range of drugs used in food industry now includes several dozen types of antibiotics and is constantly expanding, respectively, the content of many of them in food has not yet been regulated, and existing control measures can not determine the content of all used antibiotics in food.

This means that the responsibility for complying with the appropriate regulations on the use of antibiotics in agriculture rests entirely with the producer. However, due to the undeveloped (low) production culture, many producers, for the sake of increasing the profitability of production, do not comply with antibiotic regulations, because.к. At the very least, this requires the presence of personnel with special knowledge and skills; compliance with the necessary hygienic conditions in production, eliminating the need for disease prevention with antibiotics; destruction of food products containing antibiotics, etc.

The World Health Organization is therefore warning of the need for urgent action and Consumers International is calling for food companies to change their policies on antibiotics. Consumers have an important role to play in this process.

Although effective antibiotic control measures are in place, consumers should keep in mind that it is advisable to buy products of animal origin (meat, dairy products, eggs) from verified sellers and in authorized markets.

The sold products of animal origin shall be accompanied by the documents confirming their compliance with the regulatory requirements (unprocessed food products of animal origin – a document confirming veterinary and sanitary expertise, processed food products of animal origin – a declaration of conformity, meat and dairy products for baby food – certificate of state registration).

In addition, it should be noted that the carcass, half-carcass and quarter of the meat must bear a veterinary stamp; it is allowed to put an additional stamp of the commodity inspection mark. The following information must be specified in the shipping documentation for unpackaged slaughter products: type of meat of the productive animal from which slaughter product was obtained, name of the slaughter product, thermal condition of carcasses, half-carcasses, quarters and cuts («chilled», «Frozen»), the anatomical part of the carcass (for cuts); the slaughter products.

Dear Consumers! So, for today the possible way out of the current situation is to buy the products of animal origin (cattle meat, dairy products, eggs, poultry) from reliable manufacturers after a veterinary and sanitary expertise of raw materials.

Refrain from buying livestock, poultry, fish products of unsightly appearance and of dubious quality from unknown companies.

Refrain from buying the products in unsuitable places and premises: in the courtyard, from the trunk of the car, in the staircase, etc.п.

Tooth abscess – what is it, why is it dangerous, how to treat a pus

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The infection causes an inflammatory process in the soft and hard tissues. If not treated adequately and under the influence of high temperatures (especially with hot drinkers or in the summer heat), a tooth abscess is likely. To avoid complications, it is important to see a doctor in time.

What is an abscess

Dental abscess – Acute inflammation in the tooth root area with subsequent suppuration accompanied by severe throbbing pain.

It is not only dangerous for the affected tooth, but also for the body as a whole. It is possible when the pus bursts, the infection enters the bloodstream and begins sepsis.

Symptoms of a tooth abscess

The inflammatory process in the tissues of the tooth and gum proceeds in stages, accompanied by different symptoms:

  • Discomfort, mild swelling, possible gingival bleeding during tooth brushing, sensitive soreness on pressure.
  • In later stages, swelling increases, there is a reaction to hot and cold food. Long-lasting pain and an unpleasant odor occur. In addition to local changes, the abscess is accompanied by an increase in lymph nodes in the neck, an increase in body temperature, general malaise.

A bitter aftertaste is palpable in the mouth, and the tooth body may change its color. It is important to remember: the symptoms of a gum abscess can manifest themselves differently – Everyone has a different threshold of pain sensitivity, perceives signals subjectively. Therefore, you should not wait for an acute condition, a prudent step – Visit a dental clinic at the first unexplained sensations.

What may be the complications

Even if the pain is dulled and symptoms are less severe, do not postpone going to the dentist. Such a situation can be a signal that the root is dying off and further spreading the infection to the organs of the head or neck.

Do not heat the area. This approach will bring short-term relief, but will accelerate fistula formation and stimulate the release of pus.

Possible serious complications: brain inflammation, pneumonia. Risk of sepsis, osteomyelitis, damage to the sinuses or brain membranes.

Causes of dental inflammation

The main causes that cause an abscess of the gum of the tooth, infection of the pulp:

  • Advanced tooth decay with lesions of the root apex. Inflammation develops against the background of periodontitis.
  • Untreated gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease). Often develops as a post-traumatic complication: pathogenic microflora accumulates in the periodontal pockets.
  • Weakened immunity after diseases (flu, sore throat, others).
  • Iatrogenic factors – Bacteria got in after using non-sterile instruments during treatment, injections, improper tooth extraction.

The development of the inflammatory process may be preceded by damage to the oral mucosa, the formation of boils.

Examples of work:

If you notice symptoms of an abscess?

Don’t delay, make an appointment with us to! Get a quality diagnosis and treatment!

Types and treatment of abscess

The nature of treatment depends on the cause of the gum inflammation, the size of the pus, its localization. The extraction of a unit is very rare today – Only in cases when it is too late to address the problem and the tooth can no longer be saved. Exception – Baby teeth, recent «Wise» Molars. After the surgery, the hole is cleaned and disinfected, and the healing process is monitored.

When choosing the method of intervention, the type of inflammation is taken into account. Distinguished:

  • Periodontal abscess . Develops in the pulp of the tooth, spreads to nearby areas. The goal of the dentist – Save the dental unit and restore the dental tissues. After cleaning, the canals are treated with modern antibacterial and antiseptic compositions to prevent reinfection. Only after that, a filling is made.
  • Periapical abscess . Pockets between the teeth and gums allow pathogenic microflora to multiply. A pus is formed, which is treated by opening, removing the contents. The pocket is cleaned and disinfected to prevent a recurrence.

Opening of the abscess with appropriate anesthesia – A small incision is made, pus is cleaned and the wound is rinsed with antiseptics. In case of severe suppuration, drainage of the mass is necessary, recovery therapy is required. Antibiotics, analgesics can be taken in parallel, under the doctor’s control, according to the doctor’s prescription. A comprehensive approach is important if the gum hurts and inflammation is detected.

Stages of treatment of a tooth abscess:

  • Make an appointment.
  • Diagnostics, X-ray examination to locate the nidus.
  • Formulation of a treatment plan, performance of procedures without pain under anesthesia.

Next, the doctor appoints the time of the visit for examination. And the patient will have healthy teeth and gums after healing. In general, the treatment of a gingival abscess consists of ensuring the outflow of purulent substance, eliminating the source of infection.

Abscess prevention

Tooth and gum inflammation – direct consequence of untimely treatment, delayed visit to the doctor. Therefore, the best way to prevent the disease – Pay attention to all daily hygiene procedures, professional cleaning at the dentist’s office and visit the dentist for preventive examinations once every six months.

Rational nutrition, avoiding bad habits, taking nutritional supplements of good quality are also important. Keep your smile beautiful and be healthy.

Antibiotics and COVID-19

Antibiotics for COVID-19: An easy way to hurt yourself

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Antibiotics and COVID-19

Antibiotics work only against bacteria, not viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, and therefore antibiotics should not be used for prevention or treatment.

Patients are often asked to prescribe some kind of “magic pill” that will cure them of coronavirus infection. And when the doctor refuses to write a prescription for them: they show articles in the media written by so-called “specialists” – about what should be treated. Or they tell the stories of relatives and friends who allegedly recovered thanks to one or another magic pill.

Very often antibiotics pretend to be a “magic pill”. In the minds of patients, these are medicines that help almost everything: a runny nose, pain, bring down the temperature, and so on.

At the same time, the purpose of antibiotics is to kill bacteria that are the cause of a particular disease. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses at all, so it is simply impossible to cure COVID-19 with them. Just as there is no point in treating flu, measles, chickenpox, viral hepatitis or any other viral diseases with them.

Coronavirus belongs to the category of acute respiratory infections and, in treatment, requires only auxiliary agents, and not the use of potent drugs (hormonal and antibiotics). Side effects can even be fatal!

Pneumonia is different

In part, patients are misled by the diagnosis of pneumonia, which often occurs as a complication of COVID-19. If we talk about ordinary pneumonia, then it is not only possible, but also necessary to be treated with antibiotics, because it is caused by pneumococci and some other bacteria. But there are pneumonias that are called atypical because they are caused by other pathogens – for example, the influenza virus or SARS-CoV-2 and other microorganisms.

The overwhelming majority of patients do not know how to distinguish such pneumonias from “common” ones, how they develop and how they should be treated. But it should be admitted that not all doctors are good at doing this.

“Patients often prescribe computed tomography for themselves. At the onset of the disease, they see that 10% of their lungs are affected, and therefore prescribe antibiotics for themselves. A few weeks later, CT shows that 25% of the lungs are already affected. “So, we need more antibiotics,” the patient believes and continues to self-medicate, ”says the independent doctor.

According to the doctor, such patients, after taking two or three types of antibiotics that could not help, are often diagnosed with drug-induced hepatitis. That is, one more problem is added to the problems that have already existed.

It makes them stronger.

But misuse of antibiotics has far worse consequences than drug-induced hepatitis and other complications. It is about antibiotic resistance. In simple terms, among bacteria well known to us, there are strains (varieties) that are insensitive to antibiotics, with which they were successfully treated before. Sometimes this means that they are not affected by any of the known antibiotics.

Already, at least 700,000 people worldwide die from diseases caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year. We are not talking about some exotic diagnoses, but about well-known tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, the same pneumonia and the like.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are projected to kill 10 million people every year by 2050. WHO considers the problem of antimicrobial resistance (which includes antibiotics) as one of ten global health threats.

Our misconceptions

Several years ago, commissioned by WHO, a study was conducted in several countries to find out how well people understand what antibiotic resistance is.

64% of study participants believe that colds and flu can be treated with antibiotics (although these are viral diseases).

Almost a third of people believe that if they feel better after taking antibiotics for a few days, then treatment should be stopped. But this is how we “select” resistant bacteria that are least vulnerable to antibiotics.

And another two-thirds of the respondents believe that people who take antibiotics correctly do not face the problem of antibiotic resistance.

But this is a dangerous delusion. The fact is that resistance is not something that arises in the body of a person, but something that characterizes bacteria. If such bacteria have arisen in the body of one person, then another person can become infected with them, who did not violate any doctor’s prescriptions.

In other words, whether or not to take antibiotics and how to take them is by no means “everyone’s personal business.” If we do not change our practice of using antibiotics, then the world will go back a hundred years – to the period when people were dying from common pneumonia and other diseases caused by bacteria.

Science will save us, but not soon

Is it possible to somehow avoid such a prospect?

The study just mentioned found that 64% of participants believe that doctors will solve the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria before it gets too serious.

The truth is that humanity really needs new antibiotics, without which it will not be possible to defeat resistant bacteria. But, according to the WHO, among the antibiotics that pharmaceutical companies are developing today, very few are truly innovative. Most of them differ little from those already on the market.

True, drugs are at the stage of preclinical trials, on which great hopes are pinned. But even in the best case, the first of them will be available to patients in about 10 years. This means that scientists and doctors themselves will not solve this problem.

How everyone can contain resistant bacteria

Much depends on how responsibly each of us treats the use of antibiotics.

In particular, WHO recommends that the following rules be followed:

  • take antibiotics only if prescribed by a qualified doctor;
  • never demand antibiotics from the doctor if he says that this time they are not needed;
  • always follow your doctor’s recommendations for antibiotic use; in particular, this means that the course of treatment should last no less and no longer than prescribed by the doctor;
  • you cannot transfer your antibiotics for use to other people for whom they are not prescribed by a doctor.

There are other important rules that do not apply to taking antibiotics, but help prevent the emergence of resistant bacteria. They are designed to protect against bacterial infections – so that the need for antibiotics does not even arise. These recommendations include regular hand washing, safe sex, and timely vaccinations to prevent diseases, including bacterial ones.