Remember those 3 or 4 antibiotic pills you saved from your last visit to the doctor? Yes? Well, congratulations, you’re now a part of the reason why super germs are one day going to kill us all.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but inappropriate antibiotic use is one of the primary reasons pathogens around the world are evolving–and becoming more deadly.

Look at it this way: if you only take 5 days of your 7-day antibiotic treatment, you may not be completely killing off whatever it is your doctor is trying to vanquish. Stopping your antibiotics early can allow resistant forms of germs to survive. Those stronger, faster, meaner germs are then the ones that go on to contaminate other people.

If everyone allows resistant germs to get passed on, 100 people down the line, that once mild illness has become something to be reckoned with.medication

Now, we get it. You saved those antibiotics so you could self-treat somewhere down the road when you’re starting to feel sick again. Why pay for another doctor’s visit? But here’s the thing: if you are taking antibiotics indiscriminately, you’re exposing germs to medication for short time frames, allowing those germs to build up immunity.

See where we’re going with this?

And it’s not just antibiotics. Any excessive, indiscriminate use of antimicrobial products can result in superbugs.

Unfortunately, it’s a bit late to stop abusing antimicrobials; super germs are already out there creating havoc. That being said, remind yourself that it IS okay to be sick once in a while. You have an immune system for a reason. Letting your body do its job keeps everything in working order and provides a natural immunity.

Does that mean you shouldn’t go to the doctor if you think you’ve contracted Ebola or impetigo? Of course not. It does mean, however,  the next time you get a runny nose and a cough maybe you should ride out the storm rather than popping those leftover pills in the medicine cabinet.

Are you a doctor? Do you know which antibiotics work for which bacterial infections? No? Well, then. Stop randomly chowing down on medications and do the world a favor.