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Understanding Antibiotics: Your Defense Against Bacterial Infections

Antibiotics are medicines designed to combat bacterial infections in humans and animals. They work by either killing bacteria or preventing their growth. These medications come in various forms—pills, creams, or injections – addressing infections like strep throat, urinary tract infections, and E. coli.

Important Points:
  • Antibiotics treat bacterial, not viral, infections like colds or flu.
  • Misuse can lead to antibiotic resistance, reducing their effectiveness.
Common antibiotic categories:
  1. Penicillins: (e.g., penicillin G, amoxicillin) block bacterial cell wall formation, effective against a wide range of bacteria.
  2. Cephalosporins (e.g., cephalexin, ceftriaxone) target bacterial cell wall synthesis and are used for respiratory and urinary tract infections.
  3. Macrolides (e.g., azithromycin) inhibit bacterial protein synthesis and are commonly used for respiratory and skin infections.
  4. Fluoroquinolones: (e.g., ciprofloxacin) Interfere with bacterial DNA replication, effective against various infections.
  5. Tetracyclines (e.g., doxycycline) hinder bacterial protein synthesis and are used for respiratory infections and acne.
  6. Sulfonamides: (e.g., sulfamethoxazole) Disrupt bacterial folic acid synthesis, treating urinary and respiratory infections.
  7. Aminoglycosides: (e.g., gentamicin) Interfere with bacterial protein synthesis, commonly used for severe infections caused by gram-negative bacteria.

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