Posted by: Tish | 2007/05/23


Please could you explain the reason why one has to finish a course of antibiotics and if one does not finish them and then gets say flu or a cold a few months later then continues then to finish off the old balance of the antibiotics left over from previous illness.

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Our expert says:
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Hi Tish
A lot of antibiotics does not kill the bacteria outright and only weakens them and only if you finish the course will you get to the point of preventing them from multiplying. Some of them are very clever and develop resistance if only in contact with the antibiotics for a day or so. There is no problem with using antibiotic left overs, as long as it is not past its sell by date and that there is enough left for a proper course to take ( usually 5 days at least) - and you are taking the right antibiotic for the infection.

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