What to do if you feel better but haven’t finished your course of antibiotics?

AcuEssence logoSo your doctor has given you a course of antibiotics for a bacterial infection.  After you’ve been taking them for a few days and already feel better, you are considering stopping them. What’s the harm, right?

Make an informed decision about antibiotics

Here are some things to bear in mind:

When you have a bacteria infection, billions of bacteria are active. With each day of taking the antibiotic more bacteria will be killed or inhibited. You might start to feel better even though some of the bacteria are still present.

Bacteria have survived through the ages in various hostile environments which hints at their adaptability and resilience. The theory is that, if the bacteria are not completely nuked then they can mutate, survive and continue to grow.

The theory continues that if you don’t complete a full course of antibiotics to destroy as many as possible, the bacteria that survive could mutate to become resistant to the medication and are said to be ‘antibiotic resistant’. They can then continue to grow. What this means for you is if you use the same antibiotic again, the bacteria will not respond to the medication and it will not work.

Antibiotics are designed to work on bacteria. Not viruses such as the common cold or flu. If you take antibiotics for viruses, they will not work on the virus but instead kill your good bacteria in your system. It follows that if any bacteria left in your system develop a resistance to that antibiotic then when you really need it… the bacteria might not respond to it.

When antibiotics are stopped and started or taken too often it’s not that you become resistant to them, but the bacteria could evolve into resistant forms.

What this means for you:

  • If bacteria is making you ill, and you decide to take an antibiotic make it strong enough to nuke all the illness-causing bacteria because a mild dose or shortened course means they could find a way to become resistant i.e. Take all your pills as prescribed.
  • Find another means of treatment if you are prescribed mild doses of antibiotics over a long time, high dosages over the short term are preferable.
  • Narrow-spectrum antibiotics are preferable over broad-spectrum ones. Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill any bacteria in their path including your gut flora. Find a good quality probiotic to repopulate your gut when you finish your course.
  • Do not use antibiotics to treat viral infections or you will inadvertently kill off your good bacteria and leave the antibiotic resistant bacteria instead.
  • Consider if you are misusing or overusing medication.
  • Don’t share your antibiotics with others.
  • Use antibiotics when you really really need them.
  • Herbal medicine contains hundreds of active ingredients which makes it harder for bacteria to become resistant.

What this means for humanity:

  • Antibiotics have become less effective over time.
  • As bacteria become resistant to more than one type of medication, it becomes more difficult to treat any infection it causes – this could be serious and life threatening.
  • Newer antibiotics are more expensive and more toxic so could come with bigger side effects than older ones.
  • Antibiotic resistant bacteria can spread from person to person and subsequent infections will not respond to the antibiotics. So even if you have not taken antibiotics in a way that allows them to become resistant, if you catch an ‘antibiotic resistant’ strain, it’s much harder to treat.

Build up your immune system

There is another way to address mild illnesses. Rather than resorting directly to antibiotics, strengthening your immune system so that it can cope and manage any bacteria, virus, fungus etc. can be achieved through traditional herbal medicine or acupuncture. Over the longer term this will also help you respond to further infections more effectively.

Save antibiotics for when the illness is severe and you really need them. And if you take them, finish the whole course.

If you want to boost your immunity, request a consultation: hi@acuessence.com.au



Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotic: What is Antibiotic Resistance and Why is it a problem?

Scientific American: How is antibiotic immunity acquired? 

Understanding Evolution: Antibiotic resistance: delaying the inevitable

Wikipedia: Antimicrobial resistance

Leave a Reply