What are the Different Types of Bacterial Treatment?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Oral antibiotics may be used to treat a bacterial infection.
Oral antibiotics may be used to treat a bacterial infection.
Oral antibiotics may be used to treat a bacterial infection.

When people discuss the different types of bacterial treatment they may mean different ways treatments are administered, length of treatment and types of drugs used. These are highly individualized depending on kind of bacterial infection and other factors. For instance, some forms of bacteria are treated before they cause a problem. Bacterial endocarditis prophylaxis is one example where people with certain heart problems take antibiotics prior to dental procedures and avoid bacterial growth in the heart valves.

Intravenous antibiotics can be administered into the bloodstream.
Intravenous antibiotics can be administered into the bloodstream.
Intravenous antibiotics can be administered into the bloodstream.

Most different types of bacterial treatment really mean administering some form of antibacterial treatment that will effectively kill living germs that are creating illness. For many forms of bacterial infection, people are given prescriptions of medications to take orally, which have an adverse effect on a build-up of germs in their body. The average sinus infection, case of strep throat, or ear infection might be treated in this way, and depending on the illness and medication, people could take anywhere from 3 to fourteen days of medications to fully kill the germs.

Topical antibiotics are usually not strong enough to treat severe bacterial infections.
Topical antibiotics are usually not strong enough to treat severe bacterial infections.
Topical antibiotics are usually not strong enough to treat severe bacterial infections.

Sometimes length of treatment is longer when people are sick with resistant strains of bacteria. Some infections might require as much as a month of certain drugs. Other times, oral antibiotics are either too much treatment or too little.

With some of the different types of bacterial treatment, placing antibiotic directly on the infected area is adequate. Ointments or lotions containing an antibiotic might be used for this, and some are easily obtained for the treatment of simple cuts or scrapes. Stronger preparations that are prescribed could be needed for certain infections.

Oral or topical antibiotics could fail to address severe bacterial infections. In some cases, doctors give treatments via shot or with intravenous (IV) infusion. IV treatments are most used when medicine must get to the bloodstream, and they might be used for blood infections like sepsis, joint infections, or infections of the central nervous system. The other time when IV infusions might be employed is during surgeries as infection-preventative. These make sense given the access to an IV and because people may not tolerate taking oral medication.

When considering the different types of bacterial treatment, it should be noted there are over 100 types of antibiotics, though some of them have a clear relationship to each other. Some antibiotics are extremely specific to a certain type of disease and others can be used to treat a broad spectrum of bacteria. Determining the specific type of drug that is useful may depend on a person’s drug allergies or sensitivities, the infection being treated, and other factors like drug interactions.

Many people are familiar with just a few treatments and might recognize names like penicillin and Zithromax®. The reason this familiarity exists is because these drugs are good at killing certain bacteria like staph and strep, which may result in a lot of the most common infections. Doctors may use these drugs, certainly, but if bacteria is of different origin or becomes resistant, less well-known drugs might be employed instead.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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    • Oral antibiotics may be used to treat a bacterial infection.
      Oral antibiotics may be used to treat a bacterial infection.
    • Intravenous antibiotics can be administered into the bloodstream.
      Intravenous antibiotics can be administered into the bloodstream.
    • Topical antibiotics are usually not strong enough to treat severe bacterial infections.
      Topical antibiotics are usually not strong enough to treat severe bacterial infections.