Antimicrobial agents are designed to illuminate microorganisms and ensure they do not continue to grow. These medications are essential because they allow treating severe conditions. However, a medical professional should consider risk factors and apply an appropriate agent selection procedure to facilitate proper treatment. Therefore, this paper states the main categories of antimicrobial agents, overviews differences of viral and bacterial diseases, and explains the importance of identifying them accurately.
Categories of Antimicrobial Agents
The primary distinction of these medications is based on the microorganisms that they target. According to Kon and Rai (2016), many new antimicrobial agents were discovered throughout the past decades and will be developed in the future; therefore new types of agents may emerge. All of them have different mechanisms of action and spectrums of activity that determine cases in which they should be applied.
In general, there are penicillins, cephalosporins, macrolides, tetracyclines, metronidazole, clindamycin, antifungal agents, and others (Kon, & Rai, 2016). The field of medicine in which they are used varies as well, for example, miscellaneous agents are typically applied in dental medicine because they have little effect on odontogenic or periodontal infections. This presents an understanding that each antimicrobial agent should be carefully prescribed to a patient, depending on a specific condition he or she has, as failure to do so may harm the individual’s health.
Another classification applies the functions of the agents to distinguish them. For instance, antibiotics are designed to target bacteria, fungus, or microorganisms (Berger, 2018). The medication is developed using substances that microorganisms create to affect other organisms adversely. Another category is antibacterial agents that target bacteria and its activity in the human body, for instance, bacteriostatic drugs ensure that bacteria cannot grow, and thus the condition caused by it does not progress. Agents designed to mitigate fungus are called antifungal, while antiviral medications are prescribed to combat viruses. Antiparasitic medication is applied to illuminate other organisms in a human’s body. Additionally, antiseptics were developed to prevent the growth of a microorganism in the external environment.
The World Health Organization (2016), distinguishes these agents depending on their importance for humanity. Thus, there are critically necessary, highly significant, and important medications based on their purpose. The first class distinguishes agents that are the only option for treating a specific condition due to the unavailability of other options or resistance that the population developed to previous treatments. This factor highlights the importance of proper diagnosis because antimicrobial agents should be prescribed based on the issue they target.
Viral and Bacterial Infections
The primary distinction between the two types of infection is caused by the varying nature of factors that lead to them. Proper identification and distinction are necessary because they determine the treatment plan and antimicrobial agent that should be used. Bacteria and viruses have a different structure and can grow in development in different conditions. According to Poole Arcancelo, Peterson, Wilbur, and Reinhold (2017), the first can be found on a human body and does not always cause infection, while the second type requires a host. Conditions caused by both bacteria and infection usually need additional attention as medication should be prescribed to combat them and ensure no complications are present.
Making a distinction between the two conditions is crucial to ensure proper treatment, as prescribing antibiotics for a viral infection may lead to resistance and the inability to treat further illnesses. According to Poole Arcancelo et al. (2017), symptoms of bacterial infection can be confused with those of a viral cold. The distinction can be made based on the longevity of the condition and laboratory tests.
In most cases, the treatment of viral infections involves prevention and management, while bacterial illnesses require medication.
One should consider several factors before assigning a particular antimicrobial agent. The first step involves identifying the type of infection or bacteria that is causing the issue. It is crucial because the factor predetermines the kind of medication that should be used by the patient. According to Poole Arcancelo et al. (2017), “laboratory studies, including Gram stain as well as culture and sensitivity testing help to identify the pathogen” (p. 78). Proper identification of the viral and bacterial infections determines the outcome of treatment for the patients.
For instance, prescribing antibiotics for the treatment of viral infection would not present an anticipated benefit. Moreover, the disease would not be affected through such medication, resulting in its development and worsening of the individual’s condition. Resistance to drugs is another consequence, resulting in the inability to use the same treatment in case of need. Viruses can be prevented using vaccines or treated with antiviral medication.
Overall, antimicrobial agents target microorganisms that cause illnesses in the human body. The classification for them differs, based on the specific component, cause, and importance to humanity. Although many new agents were developed in recent years, some conditions can only be treated with one type of medication. Additionally, it is crucial to distinguish between viral and bacterial illnesses because they have similar symptoms but require different treatment.
Berger, S. (2018). GIDEON Guide to antimicrobial agents. Los Angeles, CA: Gideon.
Kon, K., & Rai, M. (2016). Antibiotic resistance: Mechanisms and new antimicrobial approaches. San Diego, CA: Elsevier.
Poole Arcancelo, V., Peterson, A., Wilbur, V., & Reinhold, J. (2017). Pharmacotherapeutics for advanced practice. A practical approach (4th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
World Health Organization. (2016). Critically important microbials for human medicine. Web.