What Are the Different Types of Reaction to Antibiotics?

Madeleine A.
Madeleine A.
Antibiotics commonly cause gastrointestinal issues, including stomach pain.
Antibiotics commonly cause gastrointestinal issues, including stomach pain.

Different types of reactions to antibiotics include side effects and allergic reactions. By far, the most common reactions to antibiotics are those associated with gastrointestinal side effects. These side effects include nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, and abdominal cramps. A common reaction to antibiotics in women is the development of vaginal infections. To reduce this risk, many health care providers recommend taking acidophilus supplements or eating yogurt containing live cultures.

Oral antihistamines may used to treat an allergic reaction to antibiotics.
Oral antihistamines may used to treat an allergic reaction to antibiotics.

When a patient develops a reaction to antibiotics such as hives, difficulty breathing, or chest pain, emergency medical attention needs to be sought. These reactions can be severe and need to be treated quickly to avoid complications, such as respiratory or cardiac arrest. A severe reaction to antibiotics that produce these symptoms is typically treated with injections of epinephrine or the administration of antihistamines.

Some medical experts believe that eating yogurt on a daily basis may help keep vaginal bacteria from multiplying.
Some medical experts believe that eating yogurt on a daily basis may help keep vaginal bacteria from multiplying.

A skin rash is also a common reaction to antibiotics. The rash can produce redness, blisters, itching, and skin inflammation. When this occurs, the health care provider may recommend a different antibiotic or may discontinue antibiotic therapy altogether. He may also recommend topical or oral antihistamines to relieve the symptoms of the antibiotic-induced skin rash.

Reactions to antibiotics can include nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
Reactions to antibiotics can include nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Though a reaction to antibiotics can occur, they are usually mild and temporary. Antibiotics are generally well tolerated by most people and are effective against bacterial infections of the sinuses, urinary tract, respiratory tract, and skin, among others. When antibiotics are prescribed, the entire prescription needs to be taken and people should not stop taking their antibiotics when they begin to feel better. Only the health care provider should make the decision to stop antibiotic therapy.

Although uncommon, topical antibiotics can cause skin irritation, redness, swelling, itching, and burning.
Although uncommon, topical antibiotics can cause skin irritation, redness, swelling, itching, and burning.

Rarely, a reaction to antibiotics can produce neurological symptoms, such as nerve pain, tingling, or numbness in the extremities. As with other reactions and side effects from antibiotics, the health care provider needs to notified immediately when neurological symptoms occur. Though potentially serious, these effects are usually temporary and will resolve once antibiotic therapy has been discontinued.

Some individuals may experience hives as part of an allergic reaction to antibiotics.
Some individuals may experience hives as part of an allergic reaction to antibiotics.

Reactions are more commonly noticed when receiving oral, intravenous, or intramuscular antibiotics as opposed to topical antibiotics. Although uncommon, reactions to topical antibiotics can include skin irritation, redness, and swelling. Itching and burning can also occur, and when these reactions occur, the antibiotic ointment should be immediately washed off and the health care provider notified. Rarely, systemic reactions can occur from using topical antibiotics, however, this typically occurs when the ointment is applied to large areas of the skin.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Antibiotics commonly cause gastrointestinal issues, including stomach pain.
      Antibiotics commonly cause gastrointestinal issues, including stomach pain.
    • Oral antihistamines may used to treat an allergic reaction to antibiotics.
      Oral antihistamines may used to treat an allergic reaction to antibiotics.
    • Some medical experts believe that eating yogurt on a daily basis may help keep vaginal bacteria from multiplying.
      Some medical experts believe that eating yogurt on a daily basis may help keep vaginal bacteria from multiplying.
    • Reactions to antibiotics can include nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
      Reactions to antibiotics can include nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
    • Although uncommon, topical antibiotics can cause skin irritation, redness, swelling, itching, and burning.
      Although uncommon, topical antibiotics can cause skin irritation, redness, swelling, itching, and burning.
    • Some individuals may experience hives as part of an allergic reaction to antibiotics.
      Some individuals may experience hives as part of an allergic reaction to antibiotics.
    • Medical professionals now err on the side of prescribing antibiotics only when absolutely necessary.
      Medical professionals now err on the side of prescribing antibiotics only when absolutely necessary.
    • Reactions to antibiotics are usually mild and temporary.
      Reactions to antibiotics are usually mild and temporary.