Why You Should Finish Your Antibiotics Course

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why you should finish your antibiotics

Why You Should Finish Your Antibiotics Course


For over one-hundred years, a war has been raging. It’s the war of antibiotics against bacteria.

Since 1907, humans have been making more powerful pharmaceuticals to kill the microscopic bugs. But the bugs keep adapting.


What does this have to do with me?

When your doctor prescribes you a course of antibiotics, the goal of taking them is to eliminate all the bacteria in your body that are making you sick—that seems simple enough.

But say you get to day five of your course, and you’re feeling pretty much back to normal again. You might ditch the rest of your pills and get on with your life, unaware that there are a few stragglers still hanging on to life, and they’re getting ready to counterattack.


Why don’t all the bacteria get killed right away?

Anything with DNA—including bacteria—will have mutations in their DNA that lead to changes in how that organism functions. The bacteria causing your infection are almost all identical, but they’re not 100% identical. Some might be stronger than others at fighting medicine designed to kill them.

It’s like the difference between a fat black lab and a pitbull: even though they’re the same species, one is going to roll over and wait for belly rubs, while the other will fight to the death before it gives in. When you stop your course early, you’re letting the pitbulls live to fight another day.


Those pitbulls go on reproducing, making that strain of bacteria harder to treat the next time around. And it’s likely that the next time around is going to be a few days later, when you find yourself sick again with no more antibiotics around.

But the problem doesn’t end with you. Every time humans fight a strain of bacteria with an antibiotic, that bacteria adapts and changes to resist the drug. This leads to the development of superbugs, nasty strains of bacteria that are extremely difficult to treat.


The next time you’re thinking of stopping your antibiotics course early, think twice. Taking all the pills prescribed to you should get rid of all the bad bacteria in you. When you’re in need of antibiotics, come by your local Family Pharmacy to pick them up.

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