When you’re sick, you’re miserable – at least I am. So if you’re anything like me, all you want is to feel better. Nothing would make me happier than to pop a pill, take a nap, and wake up healthy. That’s part of the allure of antibiotics. Maybe they won’t make you feel better quite that quickly, but, in theory, they are supposed to make you feel better much faster.
The only problem is antibiotics don’t work every time you get sick, in spite of what you might think. Antibiotics are only useful against bacterial infections, not viral ones like the cold or a flu. Which means that flu that’s wiping you out won’t go away just because you get a prescription.
Want to know more? Take this quiz, and see if your antibiotic IQ is up to snuff –
1. All antibiotics are really just some form of penicillin.
Answer: B – False. Although penicillin may be the best-known antibiotic, it’s not the only antibiotic. In fact, there are more than ten different classes of antibiotics, and each class contains different strains of antibiotics. Since they don’t all treat the same infection, it’s important to choose the antibiotic that’s been shown to work against your specific problem.
2. You should take an antibiotic:
A. Only after you’ve been sick for 5 days and it hasn’t cleared up
B. If you have an infection that responds to antibiotics
C. Whenever you’re sick, just in case
Answer: B – If you have an infection that responds to antibiotics. Taking antibiotics isn’t inherently bad. What’s bad is taking them when they’re not appropriate. Before you take a prescription—or ask for one, for that matter—make sure you have a bacterial infection that is going to respond to an antibiotic, and make sure that the one being prescribed has been shown to be effective against the infection that you have. Remember, antibiotics don’t help with viral infections. You just have to live through those.
3. If your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic, you must need one.
Answer: B – False. We really wish this one was true, but it’s just not. In fact, according to one study, up to 30% of all antibiotics prescribed are unnecessary. Writing a prescription is easy for your doctor, and yes, popping a pill is easy for you—but they may not be the best choices. Always advocate for your own health, and double check any prescription your doctor gives you.
4. Overuse of antibiotics have been linked to:
A. Yeast infections
C. Antibiotic resistance
D. Unhealthy gut
E. All of the above
F. None of the above
Answer: E—All of the above. As necessary as antibiotics can be, they also come with some nasty side effects for you, and the environment.
5. Antibiotics may negatively affect your health after:
A. Taking them off and on for many years
B. A long illness
C. Taking them two or three times
D. A single course
Answer: D—A single course. Taking one round of antibiotics for one infection can throw your healthy bacteria out of whack, because the antibiotics don’t differentiate between good and bad bacteria. Talk to your doctor about taking a probiotic whenever you have to be on an antibiotic. A good probiotic, backed by true scientific research, like Beyond Biotics, can help keep the good bacteria in balance.
We’re not anti-doctor or anti-antibiotics here. We are, however, pro-health. So use antibiotics sparingly, only when appropriate, and for the shortest time possible. Sometimes the pills that are supposed to help, don’t – and can even cause further damage to your good health. Supplements are a good way to keep your internal flora in shape so that you can sometimes prevent infections, and if infections still happen they can help balance and regulate your body.