11-14-2011 (Dayton, OH) -
From November 14 through November 20 Dayton Children’s will be promoting Get Smart about Antibiotics Week. Aiming to inform parents about the proper use of antibiotics, the campaign encourages parents to be careful when choosing how to treat their child’s cold or flu symptoms. In 2011 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that tens of millions of antibiotics are prescribed in doctors’ offices each year for viral infections that are not treatable with antibiotics.
Antibiotics are a common remedy for treating children who are feeling under the weather. However, if a child does not have a bacterial infection, antibiotics do more harm than good. Every time a child is given medication, their body’s tolerance to that medication builds, making it less effective. Therefore, the more they are given an antibiotic, the less it will fight their infection.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, antibiotic resistance can cause significant danger and suffering for children and adults who have common infections that were once easily treatable with antibiotics.
“Colds caused by viruses may last two weeks or longer. However, once the illness has run its course, children and adults will typically feel much better,” said Navjyot K. Vidwan, MD pediatric infectious disease physician at Dayton Children’s. “Viruses can really take a toll on an individual’s immune system, so letting a child’s body catch up on rest and re-hydrate is one of the best things you can do.”
Parents are not only encouraged to speak with their child’s health provider about antibiotic resistance, but also use antibiotic alternatives. Other ways to treat a virus include; increasing rest and fluids, using a clean humidifier or cool vapor mist, avoiding second hand smoke and possibly administering acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain or fever – used as directed.
Treating a virus with an antibiotic does not cure the infection, keep others from catching it, or make a child feel better. Symptoms of viral infections, which do not benefit from antibiotics, are as follows:
- Chest cold in an otherwise healthy child
- Sore throat that isn’t strep
- Bronchitis in an otherwise healthy child
- Runny nose with green or yellow mucus
- Fluid in the middle ear
In order to avoid antibiotic resistance please use the following tips:
- Take a prescribed antibiotic as directed by your physician. Do not skip doses and complete the prescribed course of treatment even if you or your child is feeling better.
- Do not share or use leftover antibiotics. Only use what is prescribed specifically to you by your physician.
- Practice good hand hygiene and get the recommended vaccines.
- Do not ask for antibiotics if your doctor does not think you need them. Antibiotics can have side effects so if your doctor says it is not necessary it may cause you more harm than good.
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