Taking antibiotics increases the risk of developing resistance if you consume or misuse them frequently. But the chances are minimal if you take the dose only when prescribed and complete the entire course.
Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial infections to kill harmful bacteria in the body.
The dosage is calibrated to kill almost the entire harmful bacterial population in the body. However, sometimes, people pop in antibiotics on their own for slight fever or discontinue the course after the symptoms subside.
Just as humans have disparity, bacteria have genetic mutations, leading to slight differences. Some of these variations may make a few bacteria hardier and last longer against the assault of antibiotics.
If you stop taking antibiotics before the course is over, most weak bacteria may die, but the tougher strains may survive. Effectively, you are left with bacteria strains that need stronger or longer antibiotic treatment.
Repeated cycles of such ineffective killing lead to bacterial variants that may be almost impossible to destroy with that antibiotic—they have antibiotic resistance.
If you don’t overuse or misuse antibiotics, the chances of developing antibiotic resistance are minimal.
Unfortunately, even if you are careful in using antibiotics, but others are not, the bacterial strains surviving out in the world will be antibiotic-resistant. When you get that infection in future, the antibiotic will not work for you either. Luckily, this is a far less common scenario.
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First Published on: 11th May 2023
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