Subject: Pharmacology & Nursing Care
Subject area: Nursing
Education Level: Undergraduate/College
Length: 3 pages
Referencing style: APA
Preferred English: US English
Spacing Option: Double
Title: Antimicrobial agents
Instructions: Antimicrobial agents are essential components in the treatment of various bacterial infections as they help to kill or prevent the growth of microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and protozoans. Prior to the discovery of antimicrobial agents, treatment options for patients with bacterial infections were limited. For many patients, treatment often resulted in the amputation of limbs or even death. Today, treatment options for bacterial infections typically have a more positive prognosis. Due to the various types of infections presented in patients, it is essential to be able to identify the underlying cause of the infection—whether bacterial or viral—before recommending drug treatments. This will help you identify whether or not an antimicrobial agent would be appropriate and which specific agent would target the infection. In this Assignment, you consider the appropriate use of antimicrobial agents for infections. To prepare: Review this week’s media presentation on principles of antimicrobial therapy, as well as Chapter 8 of the Arcangelo and Peterson text. Consider the categories of antimicrobial agents. Think about differences between viral and bacterial infections. Reflect on why proper identification of the infection is key to selecting the proper antimicrobial agent. By Day 7 Write a 2- to 3- page paper that addresses the following: Describe the categories of antimicrobial agents. Describe differences between viral and bacterial infections. Explain why proper identification of viral and bacterial infections is key to selecting the proper antimicrobial agent.
The bacterial and viral infections have posed a significant challenge because of considerable resistance to drugs. Arcangelo, Peterson, Wilbur, and Reinhold (2017) have further acknowledged the difficulties involved in identifying proper antimicrobial agents to be a serious challenge to manage the bacterial and viral infections. With the ability of the bacteria to develop resistance, these microbial agents have become life-threatening. Nonetheless, it has proved necessary to develop appropriate medicines which can avoid antibacterial resistance. The development of better medication can be achieved when stakeholders direct careful attention TO the use of these drugs in human beings and animals. To this effect, this article focuses on describing categories of these antimicrobial agents, describing the differences between bacterial and viral infections, and explaining the reasons for proper identification of bacterial and viral infections.
Categories of antimicrobial agents
The antimicrobial agents are synthetic, semi-synthetic, or natural substances which can inhibit or disrupt the growth of microbial organisms; however, they cause insignificant harm to the host (Arcangelo et al., 2017). Although antibiotics are antimicrobials, some antimicrobials are never antibiotics. Studies have identified various antimicrobial agents including anti-parasitic, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial drugs (Arcangelo et al., 2017). These antimicrobial agents can help to prevent diseases and infections which are caused by pathogens. Antibacterial drugs have been used in inhibiting the pathogenic activity associated with criteria. For example, antibacterial drugs like Zithromax have helped to treat bacterial infections. The antibacterials are common drugs which many physicians have misused, especially when prescribing for patients with viral respiratory tract (Tanwar, Das, Fatima, & Hameed, 2014). With the widespread use of these drugs, the antibiotic-resistant pathogens have emerged leading to serious threats to the public health. The growth of resistance to the drug has called for new strategies to identify the best bioactive compounds to resolve the situation.
Antifungal drugs have helped many patients in preventing the growth of fungi. In most cases, physicians use these drugs to treat fungal infections, such as thrush, ringworm, and athlete foot (Scourfield, Waters, & Nelson, 2011). The fungal drugs have the capacity to kill fungal organisms without affecting the host. The fungal drugs could present adverse effect on the user when improperly prescribed. Similarly, the antiviral agents are medications or drugs which are used to treat viral infections like the human immunodeficiency virus (Arcangelo et al., 2017). The antiviral drugs can stop the pathogenic activities. Many antiviral drugs have the potential of treating retrovirus infections, especially HIV. The protease inhibitors are the most common antiretroviral drugs. Finally, the antiparasitics are known medication class meant to treat infections associated with parasites including infectious protozoa, trematodes, nematodes, and amoeba. The antiparasitic drugs like anthelmintics can inhibit the growth of parasites (Steckelberg, 2017).
Differences between viral and bacterial infections
The viral and bacterial infections share many common features because both infections are caused by viruses and bacteria or microbes. Similarly, these types of infections are spread through contact with infected microbial or creatures like insects, livestock, pets, and insects. Bacterial and viral infections can also be spread through sneezing, coughing, contact with contaminated substances, and infected people. These microbes can also cause latent infections which can rarely indicate symptoms but can appear after some years or months. They may also cause chronic and acute infections can last for even a lifetime (Ratini, 2017). Without a doubt, viral and bacterial infections can cause severe, moderate, and mild syndromes.
It is no secret that millions of people across the world have succumbed to various diseases including the Black Death or Bubonic plague which was associated with smallpox, and Yersinia pestis bacteria (Ratini, 2017). Recently, viral infections for various pandemics like the Spanish flu which killed millions of people and the current HIV/AIDS epidemic which continues to reclaim millions of lives across the world (Mayer & Krakower, 2012). Viral and bacterial infections could share some symptoms, such as cramping, fever, fatigue, diarrhea, coughing, vomiting, sneezing, and inflammation which point to the role of immune system in responding to the infectious organisms. However, viral and bacterial infections are also distinct because of the structural differences of organisms and responses to medications.
Viruses and bacteria are small agents which can rarely be seen without the microscope but remains distinct. The bacteria are single-celled and complex creatures whose membranes and walls are thin, rigid, and rubbery (Ratini, 2017). The bacterium reproduces on their own. Interestingly, these microbes can survive difficult environments such as radioactive and cold waste. Nevertheless, bacteria appear harmless as they can help in food digestion; therefore, provide essential nutrients, fighting cancer cells, and destroy disease-causing microorganisms. Compared to bacteria, viruses are tinier and have a protein coat with core genetic materials. Unlike the bacteria, viruses can never live devoid of a host because they need to attach to cells to reproduce. Interestingly, these viruses transform normal cells into cancerous or malignant cells.
Reasons for proper identification of viral and bacterial infections
The proper identification ensures the physician avoids drug resistance, especially of the microbes causing infections. In most cases, microbes cause bacterial and viral infections which have since evolved to be resistant to the drugs. Therefore, improper identification makes it difficult to achieve the plan of treatment (Leekha, Terrell, & Edson, 2011). Proper identification enhances the use of vaccination; hence preventing microbes from causing malady.
Antimicrobial agents are essential in treating various bacterial and viral infections because they inhibited the growth or mutation of microbes. With proper prognosis, it has become possible to treat bacterial and viral infections. As exhibited in this paper, there are different categories of antimicrobial agents which have proved critical to proper identification of the microbes to avoid mistakes. Nonetheless, the bacterial and viral infections are either similar or distinct depending on various factors including the structure
- Arcangelo, V. P., Peterson, A. M., Wilbur, V., and Reinhold, J. A. (Eds.). (2017). Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Practice: A Practical Approach, (4th Ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
- Leekha, S., Terrell, C.L., and Edson, R.S. (2011). General Principles of Antimicrobial Therapy. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 86(2), 156-167.
- Mayer, K. H., and Krakower, D. (2012). Antiretroviral Medication and HIV Prevention: New Steps Forward and New Questions. Annals of Internal Medicine, 156(4), 312-314.
- Ratini, M. (2017, April 25). Bacterial and Viral Infections. WebMD Medical. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/bacterial-and-viral-infections#2.
- Scourfield, A., Waters, L., and Nelson, M. (2011). Drug Combinations for HIV: What’s New? Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy, 9(11), 1001-1011.
- Steckelberg, J. (2017). Bacterial vs. Viral Infections: How Do They Differ? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infectious-diseases/expert-answers/infectious-disease/faq-20058098.
- Tanwar, J., Das, S., Fatima, Z., and Hameed, S. (2014). Multidrug Resistance: An Emerging Crisis. Interdisciplinary Perspective of Infectious Disease, 2014, 541340. Doi:10.1155/2014/541340