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Ask Dr. Dina: Should you finish the entire bottle of antibiotics?

Is it better to finish the bottle of antibiotics or follow the prescribed 10-day course? Paediatrician Dina Kulik has the answer.

Ask Dr. Dina: Should you finish the entire bottle of antibiotics? Photo: iStock

Should we finish the entire bottle of antibiotics or follow the prescribed 10-day course?

If your kid has been seen by a physician and deemed to have a bacterial infection worthy of antibiotics, you need to complete the prescribed course. Some infections, like strep throat, typically require a longer treatment (10 days), while others can require shorter courses. Often the fever resolves and kids start to feel better after one or two days of the prescribed medicine. However, this is not an indication to stop taking it; the weak bacteria may be dead, but the more robust bugs are still around. If you stop taking the antibiotic, the resistant bacteria will continue to grow, and your kid may develop an infection that’s harder to treat. You need to kill off all that nasty bacteria! If you run out before the number of days is up, see your pharmacist for more. And if you have more than enough for the prescribed course, bring leftovers to your pharmacy for proper disposal.

Dina Kulik is a paediatrician and emergency room doctor in Toronto and mom to three boys, who are five, three and 17 months. Send her your kids’ health questions at editors@todaysparent.com

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