Antibiotics in children
When should antibiotics be used to treat fever?
Antibiotics are anti-bacterial medications used to treat infections due to bacteria. They are prescribed by your doctor if bacteria are suspected to be the cause of fever. Antibiotics have no role in treating viral infections like common cold, flu etc.
How can we know if bacteria are the cause of fever?
The common organisms causing infection are viruses and bacteria.
Parents cannot identify whether it is bacterial or viral illness.
Once your doctor examines your child, he will identify the most likely cause of fever. Sometimes investigations including blood tests may be needed to help your doctor confirm the cause of infection.
Can antibiotics cause harm to children?
When used under the guidance of a paediatrician, antibiotics are usually safe. Sometimes they can cause unpleasant side effects like loose stools, nausea, rash and fungal infections. Most of the side effects can be treated easily. Sometimes they can cause allergic reactions. If parents notice any rash after starting antibiotics, they should stop immediately and inform the doctor.
What should parents avoid with respect to antibiotics?
Parents should not forget that antibiotics are drugs and should be used only when necessary.
Sometimes parents use antibiotics on their own without advice from doctor. Such practice is not appropriate, and antibiotics should only be used on advice from a doctor.
Once antibiotics started, the course should be completed and should not be discontinued after using incompletely. Apart from being ineffective, it may result in antibiotic resistance.
Sometimes parents ask doctors for antibiotic prescription over the phone. At other times parents may pressurize the doctors to prescribe antibiotics. This would result in unnecessary use of antibiotics.
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