Your family probably faces its share of colds, fevers and sore throats every winter season. When you take your child to the doctor for any of these, do you automatically expect a prescription for an antibiotic? Many parents do, but your pediatrician could be doing you and your child a favor by not prescribing one. Each year in the United States more than 160 million prescriptions are written for antibiotics and as much as 50 percent of these prescriptions could be inappropriate. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
While antibiotics are one of the greatest advancements ever in medicine, overprescribing them has resulted in the development of bacteria that do not respond to treatment. Viruses cause colds, the flu, most sore throats and bronchitis. Antibiotics help fight bacteria, not viruses, and do more harm than good when taken for a viral infection by contributing to antibiotic resistance.
Parents play a big role in stopping antibiotic misuse and the public health crisis that can result. To help prevent antibiotic resistance, follow these guideline when your child is ill:
- Don’t demand antibiotics when a health care provider has determined they’re not needed.
- Talk about antibiotic resistance with your child’s doctor.
- If your child is prescribed an antibiotic for a bacterial infection, be sure she takes all medications as prescribed, even if symptoms disappear. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive or re-infect her.
Consult your primary care physician for more serious injuries that do not respond to basic first aid. As an added resource, the staff at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine is available to diagnose and treat sports-related injuries for youth or adolescent athletes. Services are now available in five locations. To make an appointment, call (614) 355-6000 or request an appointment online.