Antibiotics – How long should you have them?
Exactly how long should you take antibiotics?
Sometimes this is NOT as obvious as it should be.
A patient asked yesterday – ‘Doc if I’m feeling better after a few days, can I stop the antibiotics?’
We can’t overstate this so here it goes again:
‘Always complete your antibiotics according to your prescription’.
Unless you develop side effects or otherwise by your doctor.’
Here’s an analogy.
Antibiotics are one of the world’s greatest tools – against infection.
The use of antibiotics follows strict guidelines and rules.
However, this is for the greatest benefits while avoiding possible consequences.
How antibiotics work
Now, the germs for your antibiotics are very ‘clever’.
If you do not use your antibiotics as prescribed, here are the most likely results.
So, the germs may be slowed down but not killed.
Not completing your course of antibiotics means you may weaken the germ only.
It then ‘restructures‘ to a different form of itself to overcome the antibiotic next time it is used.
Yes, the pain started to get better.
Or, the swelling or other signs of infection stopped after a few days.
This makes you think – “hey I’m fine”! – but maybe not.
This is because the intent is to kill the germs and not just to weaken them.
So when the Dr. prescribes antibiotics for 1 week, please don’t stop after ‘3 days’ or just because you have started to feel better as you would be doing 2 things:
(1) giving the germ more ammunition to hurt you in future; and
(2) rendered it ineffective for you in the present.
This means taking the appropriate antibiotics, in the right dose and for the right duration for the infection.
This would mean that antibiotics should be prescribed by qualified healthcare practitioners who should know the right dose and the right duration and the right uses.
And, they also have a responsibility to provide education about antibiotics and how best to use them.
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
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