While many antibiotics work from outside a bacteria’s cell walls and break in, others work to eliminate bacteria from the inside out. For example, macrolide antibiotics specifically inhibit protein synthesis.

Let’s Get Technical – Breaking Down the Biology of Antibiotics

Erythromycin, a common macrolide, binds to certain molecules in a bacteria’s ribosomes. This prevents the cells from being able to form the proteins and other resources they need for continued growth. Tetracycline, which is a buy antibiotics online commonly prescribed for acne and respiratory tract infections, is also a protein synthesis inhibitor that works in the same way.

Rifamycin, a family of antibiotics often prescribed for tuberculosis, works by inhibiting a bacteria’s ability to synthesize RNA, which is the molecule that translates DNA into proteins. While the method is different, the results are essentially the same.

Other antibiotics work by preventing bacteria from producing folic acid, a vitamin that is necessary to their survival. Still others compromise the structure of bacterial cell membranes, interrupting how substances move into and out of the bacteria.

Bat’s the Difference?

One of the most important things to remember about antibiotics is that they are only effective against bacteria. While bacteria and viruses are responsible for a wide range of diseases, they are significantly different organisms.

Bacteria are single-celled organisms and can live in a variety of different settings. Some can even survive extreme temperatures, while others take root in human intestines and help you digest your food. Your body is filled with thousands of bacteria, and most of them are completely harmless.

However, invading bacteria can enter your body and cause illnesses. Common bacterial infections include:

  • Strep throat
  • Certain sinus infections
  • Tuberculosis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney infections
  • Whooping coughs

Viruses are much smaller than bacteria, and they can only exist with a living host, whether it’s a person, animal, or plant. They otherwise cannot survive. When a virus finds its way into your body, it invades certain cells and rewrites how those cells operate, forcing them to produce more viruses. Some common diseases caused by viral infections include the common cold and flu, stomach flu, chickenpox, and AIDS.

It’s important to use antibiotics only if you are suffering from a bacterial infection, but that can often be difficult. Many illnesses and symptoms can be caused by either bacteria or viruses. These include diarrhea, meningitis, and pneumonia.