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Health 123

Health 123 - Why Do We Need to Finish off Antibiotics?

When we are sick and being prescribed antibiotics by the doctor, he or she would often remind us to finish them off. However, some may think that it would be alright to stop antibiotics when we are feeling better, totally forgotten the doctor’s advice! In fact, this is wrong! Guess many of us have made the same mistake too!

So why do we need to finish off antibiotics?

Firstly, we need to understand that the function of antibiotics is to curb and kill the bacteria, and this process takes a certain continuous period of time and certain dosage of medicine. The doctor will identify the individuals’ condition, and normally treatment takes about 3 or 7 days, or even longer. If you stop taking antibiotics earlier than the prescribed time, the previous ones you took might not kill all the bacteria yet, allowing the remaining bacteria to produce antibiotic resistance!

What is Antibiotic Resistance?

The body of a patient is like a battle field. When one is infected by bacteria, it is as though he is attacked by an enemy. Taking antibiotics stimulates the immune system in your body to fight. When you are recovering from a sickness or when you are feeling better, you think that the bacteria in your body are wiped out and you stop taking the remaining antibiotics. But you don’t know that those survived enemies (bacteria) are right there inside of your body and they may become variants and propagate, developing into something stronger, and hence producing antibiotic resistance. The stronger bacteria is called superbug. Therefore, even if you were to take the same antibiotics again in the future, it won’t be as effective as before, and all these superbugs which are resistant to antibiotics may cause you a more serious sickness!  

Oh! Touchwood! But if you really fall sick and need to take antibiotics, please do follow the instructions of your doctor to finish it all throughout the whole treatment no matter how long it may take. Please don’t stop taking it or reduce the dosage on your own even if you feel better physically.