According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reactions to antibiotics have been the cause of more than 65,000 children arriving to emergency rooms each year. A CDC team published a new study that specifically demonstrates that allergic reactions to these powerful medications are a leading cause of such emergencies.
This study, which includes nearly 6,000 medical records of children under 19 years of age, was published in the scientific journal “Journal of the American Medical Association” and reported that among the most common reactions are skin allergies, urticaria, Mouth and throat, and shortness of breath. Other children had stomach cramps, diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, headaches and muscle weakness.
Some children had other infections as a result of taking these medications. Candida, a fungus that causes some fungal infections and C. difficile, a bacterium that causes a dangerous class of diarrhea that can even be deadly, can develop when antibiotics clear the protective bacteria in the body and leave it vulnerable to These germs.
The results showed that 8 of the 15 drugs that caused the most problems included common antibiotics such as amoxicillin (Amoxil, Moxatag and generic), azithromycin (Zithromax, Z-Pak and generic), clindamycin (Cleosin and generic) and Penicillin.
Antibiotics in children younger than 5 years of age were the most common type of medication in emergency room visits for side effects. The same drugs were also to blame for nearly a third of visits by children and teens between the ages of 6 and 19 to emergency rooms.
“To begin with, many of the antibiotics that are prescribed are not needed,” says Adam Hersh, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Treatment guidelines, established by medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, in conjunction with the Choosing Wisely initiative of which Consumer Reports is An active partner since the campaign was launched 5 years ago, recommend that no antibiotics are prescribed for common conditions in children, such as colds, coughs and sore throats caused by strep.
Still, according to a 2011 CDC research, more than half of all antibiotic prescriptions for children younger than 14 years of age are used to treat infections of the respiratory tract, which are commonly viral.
“Viruses are the most common cause of colds, flu and other respiratory infections,” says Hersh. “And antibiotics are not useful for attacking viruses.”
However, antibiotics do play a key role in treating infections caused by bacteria, Hersh says.
According to Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs, the first step in making sure your children do not get to the emergency room because of antibiotics is knowing when they really are needed.
Treating common viral infections with antibiotics will not help children feel better faster and puts them at risk for side effects, which can rarely be very serious, says Hersh. What’s more, overuse of medications is contributing to the increase of dangerous superbugs, types of bacteria that are resistant to several antibiotics.
If your doctor tells you that antibiotics are not needed for your child’s illness, our medical experts recommend that you make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids and gets plenty of rest. To relieve nasal pressure and other nose discomfort, treat a nasal saline rinse or spray (salt water) and inhale during the shower, during a bath with hot water or a teapot.
To relieve pain, give a over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol and Generics) or ibuprofen (Advil and Generics) and try to give you honey to calm the cough; According to a 2014 study review conducted by Cochrane Collaboration, this method is safer than over-the-counter cough medicines, but should not be given to children younger than 1 year of age.
So how do you know if your child needs antibiotics? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you will know if:
Your cough does not improve in 14 days.
- Your doctor will diagnose a bacterial form of pneumonia or whooping cough (whooping cough).
- He had yellowish-green nasal discharge and fever of at least 102 ° F (39 ° C) for many consecutive days, or if he had symptoms of improvement and then worsened.
- Have strep throat, diagnosed according to a strep test or a throat culture. Take into account that antibiotics do not have to be prescribed unless one of the tests is positive for streptococcus. Streptococcus can not be diagnosed by examining the throat alone.
Editor’s note: The development of these materials was made possible by the state’s Attorney General Consumer and Prescription Education Grant, which is funded by a multistate consumer fraud complaint agreement in connection with the marketing of the prescription drug with Recipe Neurontin (gabapentin).