At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 45

G E N E R A L H E A LT H ▲

could expect around 200,000 people
to be affected by a bacterial blood
infection that could not be treated
effectively with existing drugs, and
around 80,000 of these might die.'
Influenza pandemics, which are
caused by viruses, could also become
more serious if antiviral medication
becomes similarly less effective, it says.
Everything from setting broken
bones to cancer treatment - including
chemotherapy - relies on effective
antibiotics. Without any alternatives to
take the place of these drugs, the risk is
that humanity will be cast back to what
former prime minister David Cameron
described as 'the dark ages of medicine'.

TYPES OF
ANTIBIOTICS
While there are hundreds of different
types of antibiotics, most can be
broadly classified into six groups:

PENICILLIN: This is used to treat
infections, such as those of the skin,
chest and urinary tract.
CEPHALOSPORINS: These are
effective in treating serious infections,
such as septicaemia and meningitis.
AMINOGLYCOSIDES: Given by
injection, these are used in cases such
as septicaemia, but can have serious
side-effects including hearing loss
and kidney damage.
TETRACYCLINES: These
antibiotics are often used to treat
moderate to severe acne and rosacea.
MACROLIDES: Particularly useful
in treating lung and chest infections,
these are often prescribed as an
alternative to penicillin if allergy is
present in the patient.
FLUOROQUINOLONES: These
broad-spectrum antibiotics are
extremely useful as they can be used
to treat a wide range of infections.

DO YOUR BIT
Used properly, antibiotics can help
destroy disease-causing bacteria.
However, if they are taken for a viral
infection, such as a common cold, they
will make it worse, while increasing
the chance of resistance. Ask yourself
whether antibiotics are absolutely
necessary before requesting them.
Be sure that you:
Always take your antibiotics as
prescribed by your GP.
Always finish the course.
Take your antibiotics at regular
intervals - do not skip doses.
Do not save some tablets for later.

www.athomemagazine.co.uk FEBRUARY 2018 | 045



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