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The proper use and over-use of antibiotics

Childrens Health > Proper use and over-use of antibiotics

Your child has been diagnosed with a bacterial infection. Now what?

Normally, you will leave the doctor’s office with a prescription for an antibiotic. Proper use of antibiotics is crucial to guaranteeing that your child gets the full benefits from these medications. Failure to follow your doctor’s instructions can lead to more resistant illnesses and less effective antibiotics in your child.

antibiotics-info.org contains information for consumers and healthcare professionals on a variety of topics surrounding the issue of antibiotic resistance for all and is not intended to be used for decisions on diagnosis or treatment.

Simple instructions for antibiotic use are as follows:

1. Administer all of the prescribed medication, even if your child feels better before the antibiotic is gone. Using the whole regimen of medication reduces the risk of your child getting sick again by the same bacteria. If your child stops taking the medication, and does get ill again, it may be more difficult to treat.

2. Give your child the medication regularly. Don’t skip doses or double them up. Sporadic use of antibiotics can allow bacteria to adapt and multiply.

3. Don’t self-diagnose an illness and share your antibiotics with your child. Prescriptions are written for one particular person, taking into account the severity of the illness and specific health concerns.

4. If you doctor stops treatment or switches your child to a different antibiotic, don’t save the leftover antibiotics for the next illness.

Now that we know the proper use of antibiotics,we as parents have to realize that there are many illnesses out there that antibiotics cannot treat. When we take our children to the doctor, don’t expect to walk out with a prescription! It is not wise to give antibiotics for illnesses we know to be viral “just to be on the safe side”. This practice will lead to organisms and bacteria that are more resistant to the antibiotics which have been created to treat them.

Some illnesses that do not warrant treatment by an antibiotic are:

1. The common cold
2. Sore throats – unless a Strep Throat culture has been performed and it has come back positive.
3. Bronchitis
4. Sinus infections
5. Ear infections – Antibiotics are necessary only rarely when an AOM, or acute otitis media, is diagnosed.

Unnecessary treatment with antibiotics can be harmful in the long run, for your child and for you. As evidenced by many new class action suits for bronchitis medication and other antibiotics, getting unnecessary antibiotics can be harmful and dangerous. When faced with an illness, go into the doctor’s office with an open mind, not with an expectation for a prescription. Ask for ideas on how to help your child to feel better without using an antibiotic, since the medication wouldn’t be an effective tool for most illnesses anyway.

Childrens Health > Proper use and over-use of antibiotics