Antibiotics: Must known features

Antibiotics: An introduction

Antibiotics play a vital role in present day medical treatments. An antibiotic eliminates or slows down the growth or bacteria and some other disease causing micro-organisms. Thus, it helps the body to fight against certain diseases.


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Antibiotics: Origin of the word

The word ‘antibiotics’ is derived from ‘antibiosis’.  The meaning of ‘anti’ and ‘biosis’ are ‘against’ and ‘life’ respectively. It is a chemical substance derived micro-organism and certain plants. They fight against certain kinds of micro-organisms like bacteria. Bacteria is the plural of bacterium. Bacteria are living organisms present everywhere. They are microscopic in size and normally one-celled. 

Antibiotics: Origin and uses

The era of antibiotics started in 1928 with the discovery of a species of Penicillium. The substance was discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming and he named it penicillin. As of now, there are more than 80 varieties used for treatment of various illnesses. They are effective in the treatment of many diseases like cough, boils, sores, venereal diseases, throat inflammation, rheumatic fever and pneumonia. Ampicillin, Tetracyclin, Streptomycin and Chloromycetin are some of the prominent antibiotics. Some are effective against specific micro-organisms. Some others are effective against a large range of micro-organisms and these types are known as ‘broad spectrum antibiotics’. The antibiotic is applied to a body through injection or capsules. It kills the disease spreading micro-organisms. 

Antibiotics: Manufacturing process and method of functioning.

Antibiotics are made from bacteria and fungi. There are two versions on the functioning of antibiotics. Some scientists believe that the drug prevents oxygen reaching the gems of disease, thus killing them. Others are of the opinion that they prevent the germs getting food. Antibiotics save millions of people every year. 

Antibiotics: Adverse impacts and side effects



Some people are allergic against teh drug. The allergy results in rashes, peeling off of skins etc. Similarly, sometimes they cause nausea and stomach upset. Extreme reaction may lead to death. It is also observed that the germs become resistant to antibiotics. This normally happens in the case of prolonged treatments with application of antibiotics. Some times they result in the killing of bacteria required for the functioning of the body. 

 Antibiotics: Limitations

Antibiotics are effective only in the case of infections caused by bacteria. These medicines are not at all effective in the case of viral infections. Colds, bronchitis etc are caused by viruses and antibiotics are not used for their treatment. Viral infections are treated with antiviral drugs. 

Dosage of antibiotics is crucial in a treatment and it should be taken for the period prescribed by the doctor. Antibiotics should be taken only under the guidance of a medical practitioner and  one should never resort to self medication. 

Elizabeth Paul


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