Find out when it’s appropriate for your child to take antibiotics and when you should just let nature take its course.
It seems that wherever we turn we are hearing more and more news stories about emerging,antibiotic-resistant infections. Repeated use of antibiotics is one of the main causes for the increase in drug-resistant bacteria; however, sometimes antibiotics are crucial to fighting an infection and increasing resistant germs within our bodies.
While it’s true that our country does often prescribe antibiotics to treat many different kinds of infectious diseases, it’s also important to know when antibiotics are necessary and when your body will do the work to get rid of an infection. This is especially important for growing children. Find out when it’s time to visit your pediatrician and when all that’s needed to fight an infection is time.
Q. When are antibiotics appropriate for children?
A. There are a variety of cases in which a child may need a dose of antibiotics to fight infection:
- If your child’s fever lasts two or three days
- If a cough doesn’t go away after two weeks
- If a child has been diagnosed with a bacterial form of whooping cough or pneumonia
- If a sinus infection doesn’t clear up in 10 days
- If your child has been tested and diagnosed with strep throat
One important thing to acknowledge is that antibiotics often fight bacteria, not a virus; therefore, colds, flus and sinus infections usually don’t respond to antibiotics, unless the sinus infection is caused by a bacteria. Viral infections tend to clear up on their own with rest, plenty of fluids and sleep.
Q. What can a parent do to prepare for a potential pediatrician visit?
A. We highly recommend tracking or recording information about your child’s illness including a list of symptoms, when the symptoms began and if they developed a fever (and how high it was). Having this information is particularly helpful for us to determine the type of infection and whether a course of antibiotics is required.
Of course, if your child starts to display severe or new symptoms it’s always best to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician. The next time you are in our office feel free to ask any questions you might have about antibiotics or the medications we prescribe to your children. We would be happy to sit down and discuss this with you!