It’s that time of year again. School has started back, the days are getting colder, fall pollens (God Bless are in the air, and children across America are getting sick. Given my day job this time of year is busy for me.
Every day from now till the end of the school year, I will deal with battling my Mommy urges and my Doctor knowledge. I feel qualified to feel the pain of the Mommy that has set up all night with her child running a fever of 101-103, vomiting, and coughing like any minute they will stop breathing or choke to death on snot. Once you have survived the night and resisted the urge to run to the nearest ER, you go to your doctor to be told, there is no need for antibiotics because your child has a virus and you can just go on home and give them Tylenol or motrin and expect 3-7 more fun-filled days and nights with your child sounding awful and keeping you worried and awake.
Despite your better knowledge, you did not want that pat on the head, the Mommy in you often wants the antibiotic to make the illness go faster, to validate the illness, and to have something more to do for your child other than give Tylenol and Dimatapp. Because, yes you may know in your head that most childhood illness are caused by a virus, you are your child’s mother and you know this is not a virus. And further more, Doctor, I know if you would just give me an antibiotic they will feel better and I will feel better.
Then there is the side of me that does really know that over use of antibiotics is the leading cause not only of growning antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens (the germs that make you sick) but it also is the number one cause of emergency department visits for adverse drug events in children.
Below I have an excerpt from the CDC’s website about Getting Smart when it comes to Antibiotics…
RagweGet Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work
Antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses like colds, most sore throats and bronchitis, and some ear infections. Rest, fluids, and over-the-counter products may be your or your child’s best treatment option.
Dangers of Antibiotic Resistance
Colds and many other upper respiratory infections, as well as some ear infections, are caused by viruses, not bacteria. If antibiotics are used too often for things they can’t treat—like colds or other viral infections—they can stop working effectively against bacteria when you or your child really needs them. Antibiotic resistance—when antibiotics can no longer cure bacterial infections—has been a concern for years and is considered one of the world’s most critical public health threats.
Widespread overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics is fueling an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. So the next time you or your child really needs an antibiotic for a bacterial infection, it may not work.
Cost of Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance is also an economic burden on the entire healthcare system. Resistant infections cost more to treat and can prolong healthcare use. In the U.S., antibiotic-resistant infections are responsible for $20 billion in excess healthcare costs, $35 billion in societal costs and $8 million in additional hospital days. By using antibiotics appropriately and only when they are needed, we can all play a role in lowering the cost of resistance on our communities and the country.
Did you know?
Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health threats.
Antibiotics are the most important tool we have to combat life-threatening bacterial diseases.
Increasing antibiotic resistance is compromising the effectiveness of antibiotics.
Patients, healthcare providers, hospital administrators and policy makers must work together to employ effective strategies for improving appropriate antibiotic use—ultimately saving lives.
If You or Your Child Has a Virus Like a Cold or Sore Throat
Taking antibiotics when you or your child has a virus may do more harm than good. Rest, fluids, and over-the-counter products may be your or your child’s best treatment option.
Get smart about when antibiotics are appropriate—to fight bacterial infections. Taking them for viral infections, such as a cold, most sore throats, acute bronchitis and many sinus or ear infections:
Will not cure the infection;
Will not keep other people from getting sick;
Will not help you or your child feel better; and
May cause unnecessary and harmful side effects.
What Not to Do
Do not demand antibiotics when a doctor says they are not needed.
Do not take an antibiotic for a viral infection like a cold or most sore throats.
Do not take antibiotics prescribed for someone else. The antibiotic may not be appropriate for your or your child’s illness. Taking the wrong medicine may delay correct treatment and allow bacteria to multiply.
If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic for you or your child:
Do not skip doses.
Do not save any of the antibiotics for the next time you or your child gets sick.
What to Do
Just because your doctor doesn’t give you an antibiotic doesn’t mean you aren’t sick.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment for your or your child’s illness. To feel better when you or your child has an upper respiratory infection:
Ask your doctor or community pharmacist about over-the-counter treatment options that may help you or your child feel better;
Increase fluid intake;
Get plenty of rest;
Use a cool-mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion; and
Soothe a throat with ice chips, sore throat spray, or lozenges (do not give lozenges to young children).