Why is it Important to Finish a Course of Antibiotics

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Why is it Important to Finish a Course of Antibiotics

In this article I am talking about the importance of finishing a course of antibiotics, but also about the importance of using the same medicine correctly. I will share my story, which will hopefully make you understand the importance of both.
Why is it important to finish a course of antibiotics
Sore throat

What are antibiotics?


Antibiotics are medicine that is used to treat bacterial infection. They come in many types and different antibiotics are used to treat different conditions.

Often infections are caused by viruses. For example, most sore throats and colds are caused by viruses, and, therefore, antibiotics should not be prescribed for their treatment.

Why is it important to finish a course of antibiotics?


The more often we use antibiotics the more likely it is that bacteria will adapt to the treatment and antibiotics will become ineffective. Some bacteria, such as MRSA, is resistant to several types of antibiotics and, therefore, it is difficult to treat.

Bacteria that is not fully killed finds a way to adapt and becomes resistant to antibiotics.

What happens when you don't use antibiotics correctly?


Above I reminded why it is important to finish a course of the mentioned medicine. Most of us know about it very well as our parents have been telling this to us from an early age. However, today I would also like to stress the fact that it's not only important to finish the course, but it is also important to make every effort to take antibiotics as instructed, i.e., at regular intervals.

A couple of months ago I had a horrible sore throat that seemed to last ages. I was waiting for it to go away on its own, but it didn't, so I decided that it was time to see the doctors. The doctor prescribed me some antibiotics. I went to the pharmacy with my prescription and I had to come back later for my drugs as they had to be made. When I came back, the pharmacy was closed for the night. By the morning my throat started to feel better on its own. I was very pleased and I decided not to start the antibiotics course. The medicine was sitting in my kitchen cabinet waiting for the rainy day.

A couple of weeks ago I woke up with a shocking sore throat again. It was so bad that I couldn't sleep at night. My glands were all swollen and I could hardly breath. Obviously, I rushed to my medicine cabinet and I felt that it was fully justifiable to do that course of antibiotics that I skipped before.

The same evening my throat was feeling almost fine. The next day I was feeling great. I knew I had to finish the course, so I kept taking the drugs. However, I became a bit slack as to how regularly I would take them. Sometimes I would be late by a few hours.

When my antibiotics were finished my throat started to feel sore again, on the same day! Again, the story repeated, it got so bad overnight that I couldn't breath properly nor sleep. And it was the day of the Anti-ageing Show which I had been wanting to go to for ages. In the morning I cried, I felt so sorry for myself.

I read the antibiotics instructions, which said that it is important to take penicillin at regular intervals, or you risk of getting the infection again. We humans tend to have the 'It won't happen to me' syndrome and I was certainly not an exception in this case.

Please be warned that it is important to finish the course of antibiotics, but also it is important to take it as instructed - do not skip doses, do not try to save some antibiotics for later as it will not only cause bacteria to mutate, but you have a big chance to get the bacteria back and feel like a dog on the day when you want it the least.

I ended up going to the Anti-ageing Show, but my throat was so swollen that I could hardly breath, let alone talk. I was so embarrassed to talk and I spoke like a lisper. I still have a tiny bit of soreness left in my throat, but it is almost gone now.

Final word


Have you ever taken antibiotics course and fell back ill after you finished the course? Have you ever been in a situation when you fell ill on the day of some big event? What did you do?

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