The actual explanation as to why a full prescribed course of antibiotics should always be completed is that infections are not necessarily stopped when symptoms have resolved. Bacteria are generally killed by antibiotics when they are “awake” and active, taking in nutrients so that they can grow and reproduce. When they are dormant, or asleep, they are not affected by antibiotics. They must be awake and, in a sense, ingesting the antibiotic in order to be killed. In any given infection or population of bacteria, a portion of the bacterial community are dormant. When a person stops taking antibiotics prematurely, they run the risk that any remaining dormant or sleeping bacteria will then awaken, feed, grow and reproduce. This is why antibiotics should never be stopped early just because a person is feeling better.
Why it is always important to always finish antibiotics as prescribed?
This is a common question. The answers that you usually hear are:
1) The infection may return if incompletely treated.
2) There is an increased risk of development of antibiotic resistance when infections are not fully treated.
What you probably never heard is this: