Antibiotics and You

Antibiotics and You


How are you feeling, Mom? Ohhh, I don’t feel so good… I heard I need antibiotics but what are they
exactly? Narrator: Antibiotics come from natural sources
such as fungi, who use them in their battle against bacteria out in the environment. Scientists take these molecules and use them
to help battle infections in people. Well, that sounds fantastic. I don’t want any bacteria in my body! Narrator: Well, there are good and bad bacteria. Everyone has something called a microbiome. Our microbiome is a collection of bacteria
that live inside our bodies. A healthy and strong microbiome is one that
has many different kinds of good bacteria that protects us from getting sick. So, it’s important that we keep these good
bacteria. But sometimes, bad bacteria can get in and
cause problems. This is why you’ve been prescribed antibiotics. Antibiotics can come in the form of tablets,
pills or intravenous fluids. Well then, I hope we get the strongest one! Narrator: Actually, there’s no antibiotic
considered weak or strong. Antibiotics are either “targeted” or “broad”. Sometimes, when you’re sick, your healthcare
provider knows exactly what bacteria is causing your sickness. In times like this, a targeted antibiotic
is prescribed. These types of antibiotics primarily kill
the harmful bacteria causing your illness. But, sometimes your healthcare provider may
not know exactly what is causing your illness. If your healthcare provider suspects it could
be a bacterial infection, a broad antibiotic is prescribed. These types of antibiotics attack a wider
range of bacteria in the hopes of killing the harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, whichever kind of antibiotic
you receive, the good bacteria in our microbiome may be affected. But broad antibiotics usually affect more
of our microbiome. Your healthcare provider’s goal is to always
protect your microbiome as much as they can. I see. What can we do to ensure we get the best antibiotic
for us? Narrator: To find the best antibiotic for
you, it’s important that your healthcare provider knows what you’re allergic to and
other medication you may be taking… Hmmm…. allergies…? Does he mean…Nausea? Vomiting? Diarrhea? Narrator: Hold on there. The symptoms you’re thinking of are actually
some common, expected side effects to taking antibiotics… Narrator: …and are not considered allergic
reactions. It is important to know what allergic reactions
are and tell your healthcare provider about them. These include:
Lip, throat and eye swelling Low blood pressure
Skin rashes Son: Is it that important to be so specific? Narrator: Yes. There are different types of antibiotics,
so mistakenly telling your healthcare provider about non-allergic symptoms limits your treatment
options. Narrator: One last thing. You should also note that as a hospital patient
taking antibiotics, you are susceptible to C. difficile infection. C. difficile infection is an illness that
occurs in hospital institutions and patients who are on or have had antibiotic treatment. It is very, very serious. If you experience symptoms of watery diarrhea
and/or abdominal “belly” pain, and possibly fever, you need to contact your healthcare
provider immediately. Wow, it must be tough for healthcare providers
to decide how best to prescribe antibiotics… Narrator: Yes, prescribing antibiotics is
a careful balance between protecting your microbiome and helping you get better. Make sure you take them as prescribed! I will. Thank you for looking out for my microbiome! Narrator: If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics,
here are some important questions that you should ask your healthcare provider:
1) Why am I being prescribed an antibiotic? 2) How should I take my antibiotics and for
how long? 3) How will I know if my antibiotics are working,
and what side effects should I watch for? 4) Do I need any tests and when do I book
my next visit? Narrator: Hope you feel better soon! Take care!

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