Exclusive: Antibiotics and Anti-Viral Drugs: How They Work and Side Effects

Sunday 1 July 2018

When we have fever and we go to see doctor, we are sometimes treated as "guinea-pigs", because it is not always easy to differentiate whether we are attacked by virus or bacteria. In such cases, the doctor will prescribe a common drug first. If it is not the right prescription, it will not be effective, you will not be cured, your fever will still persist. Then a different drug will be prescribed.

Bacteria can only be killed by antibiotics. Virus can only be killed by anti-viral drugs. Specific types of antibiotics and anti-viral drugs only work for specific species of bacteria and virus respectively. You will be fed with a cocktail of drugs until the doctor correctly identifies the right drug for you. If the doctor cannot correctly diagnose the pathogens and they keep on spreading, it can be fatal.

1. Background

(a) Bacteria

Bacteria look rectangular in shape, like a body cell, with a tiny nucleus inside, surrounded by the cell wall. The size of a bacteria is very tiny. One millilitre of saliva contains 40 million bacteria. That's why if you have poor immune system, when someone coughs, the bacteria can easily penetrate into your body, through your eyes or through inhalation.

Bacteria can be divided into 2 categories:

(a) Aerobic, which means these bacteria need oxygen to live.
As such, they can only survive on the surface area of the skin, e.g. open wounds on the foot of diabetic patients.

(b) Anaerobic, which are bacteria that survive without oxygen.
They survive in your bowel and your stools. That's why if you don't pass motion everyday, your colon will be very dirty and packed full of bad bacteria. Your stools will have very strong smell and it is watery. They are also found in deep puncture wounds inside your body.

(b) Virus

Virus is smaller in size than bacteria. It looks roundish / hexagonal in shape. There is an external protein coat and viral genetic material in the centre of the cell.


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