Stop using antibiotics: Is it safe?
There has been a lot of research into how long antibiotic courses should be, to determine the shortest possible length of course needed to completely kill all bacteria.
If you are being treated for an infection, the kind of antibiotics your doctor prescribes and the length of the course should be based on the best evidence.
If you stop treatment early, there is a risk the antibiotics won’t have killed all the bacteria that made you sick and that it will mutate and become resistant. This will not happen to everyone – the problem is that we don’t know who can safely stop treatment early.
By taking the full course prescribed by your doctor, even if you start to feel better earlier, you increase the chances of killing all of the bacteria and reduce the risk of resistance.
WHO has published many guidelines about treatments for different infections and has recommended treatment durations and doses of antibiotics based on the best clinical evidence for each case.
Sometimes these recommendations are for shorter course of antibiotics than previously recommended, because new research shows shorter courses have the same effect as longer courses on cure and symptoms. In these cases, shorter treatments make more sense – they are more likely to be completed properly, have fewer side effects and also likely to be cheaper.
The bottom line is, your doctor should have had years of training and access to the latest evidence – so listen to them. Whatever the length of the course of antibiotics – take the full prescription.
Correctly using antibiotics
Antibiotics are used to treat pretty much every symptom from acne to pneumonia. Using antibiotics is a quick way to get better in a short time.
It is worth noted that antibiotics only affect on bacterial infection. However, antibiotics often have no benefit for many other types of infection.
Using them routinely would increase the risk of antibiotic resistance, which would result in prolonged recovery, longer hospital stay, more doctor visits and more-expensive treatments.
To be safe when using antibiotics, you can take the following steps:
Follow your doctor prescription. This means taking the daily dosage and completes the entire course of treatment. You can ask your doctor what to do if you forget a dose.
If you have leftover antibiotics, don’t hesitate and throw them away. It might not be the correct antibiotics for the next time you get sick, and it is not a full course treatment.
Never take antibiotics prescribed for another person.
Don’t ask your doctor to give you antibiotics. Your doctor knows what they’re doing. You can, however, ask your doctor how to treat your symptoms.
Practice good hygiene. It is always a good practice to wash your hands regularly. Starbucks requires their employees to wash their hands every 30 minutes for a reason. Remember to wash your hands after using the toilet, before eating, when preparing food or raw meat. Wash your fruits and vegetable and keep your work station clean.
Give your children the recommended vaccinations. You don’t need to worry about antibiotics when your child is immune to certain types of bacteria. Make sure that your child can get vaccinated to protect them from bacterial infections.
So is it safe to stop using antibiotics when you feel better? Definitely not. Stopping antibiotics before finishing a full course treatment can lead to antibiotics resistance and only make your health much worse in the future.
Review Date: February 5, 2017 | Last Modified: February 5, 2017
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Antibiotics-penicillins/Pages/Introduction.aspx. Accessed February 5, 2017.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/antibiotics/art-20045720 . Accessed February 5, 2017.
http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,,-1112,00.html. Accessed February 5, 2017.
http://www.who.int/features/qa/stopping-antibiotic-treatment/en/. Accessed February 5, 2017.