Colds, sore throats, ear infections and even urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common illnesses that children face. Unfortunately, the over-prescription of antibiotics to heal these ailments and the improper use of these medicines at home has led to a growing worldwide problem of antibiotic resistance that leaves children at risk. In an effort to keep you and your family safe and healthy, the staff at Woodburn Pediatric Clinic have compiled their best tips for dealing with this issue through proper antibiotic use.

The Problem of Over-Prescription

When your child is sick, crying, and clinging to you for help and comfort, you likely feel desperate for some help of your own, from your child’s pediatrician. You may want your child’s doctor to prescribe antibiotics to ease your little one’s symptoms, but that may not be the best course of action.

According to new research, the widespread over-prescription and use of antibiotics has contributed to antibiotic resistance, meaning that bacteria are able to resist the antibiotic and then grow and do further unnecessary harm.

New data from British researchers shows that children who develop UTIs tied to the E. coli bacteria are now failing to respond to antibiotics, due to drug resistance from years of over-prescription and antibiotic misuse. This is concerning because these UTIs are one of the most common forms of pediatric bacterial infections, and they are now unresponsive to the typical treatments.

Researchers warn that this antibiotic resistance is concerning and potentially dangerous because it limits the potential effective treatment options. In industrialized nations like the U.S., more than half of pediatric UTI cases are resistant to amoxicillin, one of the most prescribed antibiotics in pediatrics.

Bacterial vs Viral Infections

Doctors, scientists, and researchers agree that antibiotics are only necessary when treating a bacterial infection. A viral infection, conversely, requires symptom treatment to ease the pain and discomfort. If your child has a viral infection, the best course of treatment is plenty of rest, fluids for hydration, and over-the-counter products to reduce fever and ease coughing. You can also give your child crushed ice if he or she doesn’t have an appetite, administer cough drops and/or sore throat spray, and use a cool-mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion.

How do you know which type of infection your child has? This list covers many of the common illnesses children face.

Viral Infection:

  • Common cold
  • Runny nose
  • Bronchitis or chest cold
  • Flu
  • Sore throat
  • Fluid in the middle ear and ear infections
  • Sinus infections

Bacterial Infection:

  • Whooping cough
  • Strep throat
  • Urinary Tract Infection

Rules to Follow for Antibiotics Usage

  • Do not skip doses; it’s important to take the medicine at the proper times/intervals as outlined by your doctor for best results
  • Do not stop administering the medicine early unless your doctor advises you to
  • Do not save any of the medicine for the next time your child has a UTI
  • Do not give your child antibiotics for a viral infection
  • Do not give your child antibiotics prescribed for someone else; dosage levels vary for children based on age and weight, and you may accidentally give your child too much.

The growing trend of antibiotic resistance is worrying for pediatricians and parents alike, especially at this time of year when children are more likely to become sick. Parents can rest assured, however, that following the recommended tips and listening to the advice of their doctors will help keep them and their families safe this winter.

If you have questions about your child’s health needs or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us today at Woodburn Pediatric Clinic.