What are the things to remember if you're prescribed antibiotics? It's particularly important that this type of medication is taken properly if it is to be completely effective. Not taking it properly could contribute to antibiotic resistance or mean that you need another, stronger course. Here are some things to remember if you're prescribed antibiotics …
1. Finish the Course
One of the most important things to remember if you're prescribed antibiotics is that you MUST finish the course. People often feel fine and think that the medication must be working, and assume that they don't need to take any more. This could make the whole course useless, so always take them for the exact number of days prescribed by your doctor.
2. Take Probiotics
As well as killing the bacteria you want to be rid of, antibiotics can also kill off some of the beneficial bacteria in our gut. So when you're prescribed a course, it's wise to take some probiotics as well to protect your gut. You can buy probiotics in pill form, as powders, or in drinks. But whichever form you choose, be sure to pick one that has a high number of bacteria in it.
3. Avoid Alcohol
Although alcohol isn't going to reduce the effectiveness of the antibiotics you're taking, it is still best to avoid drinking while you're taking them. Alcohol can upset your stomach and have other side effects while you're on antibiotics. You can manage without alcohol for a few days, and drinking won't help you feel any better, so avoid it until you've finished the course.
4. When to Take Them
It's also important to take each dose of your antibiotics at the right time. So if you need to take them twice a day, be sure that you don't miss a dose. Also check whether you should take your pills before or after meals. Some should be taken on an empty stomach, while others should be taken with food. Always read the label, or ask your doctor or pharmacist when is the best time to take them.
5. Side Effects
You'll probably take your antibiotics without experiencing any side effects. However, there is a possibility that you might experience some, so be aware of that. If you have any severe symptoms or signs that you are suffering an allergic reaction, contact your healthcare provider straight away.
6. Foods to Avoid
Some antibiotics aren't so effective if taken with vitamins and minerals like calcium or iron. If so, avoid taking them at the same time as calcium or iron supplements, or foods that contain calcium. Read the information leaflet carefully to see if your prescription is one of them. Grapefruit can also be a problem, because of its acidic content.
If you're prescribed antibiotics when you're pregnant, make sure that the doctor knows about your pregnancy. Some antibiotics are not used during pregnancy, so the doctor needs to know so that they can prescribe one that's suitable for pregnant women.
Be conscientious about taking your course of antibiotics, in order for it to work properly. If you're bad at remembering to take pills, set a reminder on your phone or leave notes for yourself. And don't ask the doctor for antibiotics for colds or flu - it won't help. Do you think that prescriptions are too expensive?