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Finish your antibiotics!

There are two simple ways to get the most out of your antibiotics and avoid promoting antibiotic resistance.
  • First, if your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, please take the entire course (even if you are feeling better). Finish your antibiotics! When you don’t take the whole course or skip doses, there could still be surviving target bacteria. Surviving target bacteria can develop a resistance to the antibiotic and spread that resistance to other bacteria.  If you need to take that antibiotic drug again, it might not be effective, and you will be left with fewer options to fight your infection.
  • Second, you should only take an antibiotic if you know for sure that you have a bacterial infection that it will cure. Ask your doctor before assuming you need an antibiotic.  If you take an antibiotic when you don’t have a bacterial infection, it will only kill the good bacteria in your body, which are part of your natural immunity. Killing your good bacteria can lead to other infections in your body, like a GI problem or yeast infections in women.

Antibiotics have potential drug interactions. So, please be sure to take the correct ones and know which medications you shouldn’t be taking with them. Keep a list of all your medications in your wallet to share with your doctor. Taking the wrong antibiotics will only promote resistance in bacterial communities. Antibiotics continue to be lifesaving. Let’s keep them that way by not promoting antibiotic resistance.

Originally published January 15, 2015

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