Why Must You Finish Your Antibiotics? We Explain 5 Popular Health Questions
Ever wondered the differences between the flu and a cold? And why must you finish your antibiotics? Here are the answers to these common health questions.
Updated 08 Sep 2021
We all have health-related questions that bug us from time to time. For instance, why do doctors make you finish those awful antibiotics? And what’s the difference between a cold, the flu and the new novel coronavirus?
In this article, we’re debunking myths and straightening out the facts once and for all.
#1. Why must you finish your antibiotics?
If you’ve been prescribed antibiotics before, you’ve probably been told to complete the entire course of medication even if you’re already feeling better. And for a good reason.
According to experts, there are several reasons why this is important. For one, it ensures that the bacteria that's causing the infection is completely eliminated from your body. At the same time, it also reduces the risk of bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance, where new strains of bacteria cannot be treated effectively by existing antibiotics, can cause more complications and illnesses last longer.
So, with that in mind, make sure to take your antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor. And whatever you do, don’t save it for future use!
#2. Why must some medication be taken after food?
Ever wondered why some medication needs to be taken before food and some after? Does it really matter as long as it gets into your stomach?
The truth is, some medicine can cause side effects to your stomach such as irritation and indigestion — and consuming food can help reduce it! Whether you take your medication with or without food depends on the type of medicine you’re prescribed. Different medicines may react differently to food — some require food in the stomach to absorb properly while others require an empty stomach to ensure that the food doesn’t interact with the medicine.
But what if you forget?
Well, it’s unlikely to be detrimental if you forget on rare occasions. However, doing it regularly may impact the effectiveness of the medicine.
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#3. Can having durian and Coca-Cola kill you?
Ah… a sweet, creamy and fragrant delight, the durian certainly is the local’s favourite fruit. Wouldn’t it be great to indulge in it with a nice can of cola?
But hold on — is it safe to do that? Your mom certainly doesn’t think so. In fact, she may have even told you to avoid having durian with fizzy drinks, alcohol and milk; else, it may kill you.
Luckily for you, a group of medical specialists has debunked that myth for you.
So far, there has been no scientific evidence stating that the combination of durian and fizzy drinks, alcohol or milk is lethal. Some people may experience heartburn and bloatedness after eating durian due to its high carbohydrate content and therefore, consuming milk or alcohol could worsen the condition. But no, it has no direct link to death. In fact, Coca-Cola has even confirmed that there is no problem with mixing these two together.
Can we get a hooray for all durian lovers?
#4. What’s the difference between a cold and a flu?
While many of us may use the terms “cold” and “flu” interchangeably, they are in reality not the same. In fact, you should be wary when someone says they’ve got the flu.
So, what’s the difference?
Although both of these illnesses have very similar symptoms such as a runny nose, they are in fact caused by different viruses.
The flu is more severe and is usually accompanied by a high fever that lasts for several days, together with chills, body aches and fatigue. It can also lead to serious complications such as pneumonia. On the other hand, the symptoms of a cold are usually milder and do not result in serious health problems.
And what about COVID-19 that has similar symptoms to the flu and the cold?
Well, there are many different strains of coronaviruses, which is a virus that causes respiratory infections. In fact, the common cold can also be caused by a coronavirus. However, the difference with this novel coronavirus is that it was spread from an animal carrier to a human and its rapid rate of infection is what’s causing everyone to be concerned.
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#5. How does Panadol “heal” headaches?
What’s the first response someone says to you when you have a headache? It’s likely to be, “Go pop a Panadol!”
This over-the-counter medication is widely used to temporarily relieve pain and discomfort from a variety of conditions such as fever, headache, cold and flu, toothache and even period cramps.
But how does Panadol actually relieve pain? And why is it used for so many conditions?
Well, Panadol works largely due to the paracetamol in it, which is a form of painkiller that prevents the production of pain hormones (prostaglandins) in your brain and spinal cord. These pain hormones are usually released when your body is injured or sick. So by taking paracetamol, it will reduce the pain signals from your brain.
The world of medicine can be extremely fascinating
Loved reading the answers to these health questions? Or perhaps you want to be the medical professional your friends and family turn to when they have doubts about medicine and health.
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