Antimicrobialagents are chemical or physical compounds that help in fighting orpreventing the growth of microorganisms(Arcangelo & Peterson, 2016).The word was derived from Greek words ‘anti’ and ‘biotikos’meaning ‘against’ and ‘concerning life’ respectively. Manypeople confuse between antimicrobial and antibiotics. The latter areexamples of antimicrobial agents, but not all antimicrobials agentsare examples of antibiotics (Doo,2011). There is also confusion about antivirus and antibacterialdrugs. Both of these are examples of antimicrobial agents,but their differences will be highlighted later on. The main reasonfor this study is to properly diagnose infections with the correctantimicrobial agent.
Antimicrobialagents can be divided into different categories according to theirfunction and what infection they fight. An example is theantibiotics. These fight bacteria or slow down their growth in thebody (Lamarche,2013). Antibioticsare microorganisms that fight against other microorganisms. They arefurther classified according to the way they fight different bacteriain the body. One class is known as beta-lactum. They fight bacteriaby attaching themselves to the cell wall of the pathogen causing itto burst. The other class is called macrolides they fight pathogensby preventing synthesis of a protein which is crucial to any livingorganism. Lastly, the last class is quinolones which destroy the DNAstrands the bacteria produce (Magiorakos etal.,2012).
Anothercategory is the disinfectants which include antiseptics andsterilizers`. They are used to prevent further infection to otherpeople. It can be applied to non-living things like knives and othertools used in barber shops and surgery rooms. It can also be appliedto living tissue through oral administration(Arcangelo & Peterson, 2016).
Antivirusis also a category of antimicrobial agents. This is because it helpsto reduce the growth rate of viruses inside the cells (Doo,2011). Avirus enters a cell of a living organism and takes over the geneticfunction of the cell of the host. Antivirus stops the virus fromreleasing its genetic material which includes DNA inside the cell. Italso interferes with their reproduction by either causing theaggregation of viruses or preventing the movement of viruses frominfected cells to other cells (Lamarche,2013).
Antifungalis another category of antimicrobial agents. It destroys fungus andprevents further growth (Magiorakos etal.,2012).There are two types of antifungal drugs: topical and oral. Topicalare the ones that are used to treat infections on the skin theyinclude creams. The other type of antifungal agent is oraladministration. This is where the drug is administered directlythrough the mouth (Whittem,2011). These drugs have mild side effects like vomiting, diarrhea,nausea and headache.
Thedifference between bacterial and viral infection is that bacteria aresingle-celled and can live in different environments, unlike thevirus which needs a host to survive and are not regarded to as livingorganism as they lack the cell membrane (Lamarche,2013). Not allBacteria are harmful as some are used in digestion others are used tofight other bacterial infections. Virus, on the other hand, isharmful. Both of these organisms are small but viruses are smallerthus can hide in cells and can be hard to trace. Bacterial infectionsinclude tuberculosis and urinary tract infections while examples ofviruses include chickenpox and AIDS (Magiorakos etal.,2012).
Therehas to be proper identification of the infection when deciding whichantimicrobial agent to use (Whittem,2011). Thisis because infections react differently to different antimicrobialdrugs. An example, like the viral infection, every virus has adifferent antiviral drug thus we have to properly identify the virusin order to slow it down. Wrong identification could eventually leadto death. In bacterial infection, key is identification, because themore you take different antibiotics to fight the wrong infection, themore you are allowing the pathogens to adopt and become moreresistant to the antibiotic drugs. This is risky as it can lead tomore complications within the cells of the host (Lamarche,2013). Identificationis also important as some infections require immediate attention dueto the seriousness of the condition (Doo,2011). Insuch circumstances, drugs are even administered while test areconcurrently being carried out. Other infections, on the other hand,must wait till tests are carried out and results released by the labsbefore administering the antimicrobial agent.
Towrap things up, there should be more widespread distribution ofinformation about the different antimicrobial agents in order toavoid risky situations where our bodies are exposed to antibioticsthus making the bacteria more resistant. Organizations that have alsoorganized specific days to inform the public and create moreawareness about antimicrobial agents should be recognized. The mainproblem is antibiotics, they should therefore only be prescribed bythe doctor and not sold over the counter. There should also be hugeinvestments in research centers and laboratories to be able to findthe cure for the virus that has been a problem for decades.
Arcangelo,V. P., & Peterson, A. M. (Eds.). (2016). Pharmacotherapeuticsfor advanced practice: a practical approach(Vol. 536). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Doo,B.(2011). Principles of Antimicrobial Therapy. In InfectiousDisease in the Aging(pp. 19-29). Humana Press.
Lamarche,K.R. (2013). Communicating the safety essentials of oralanticoagulant therapy. HomeHealthcare Now,25(7),448-458.
Magiorakos,A. P., Srinivasan, A., Carey, R. B., Carmeli, Y., Falagas, M. E.,Giske, C. G., … & Paterson, D. L. (2012). Multidrug‐resistant,extensively drug‐resistantand pandrug‐resistantbacteria: an international expert proposal for interim standarddefinitions for acquired resistance. Clinicalmicrobiology and infection,18(3),268-281.
Whittem,T. (2011). Principles of antimicrobial therapy. VeterinaryClinics of North America: Small Animal Practice,28(2),197-213.