Why an antibiotic may not be the answer to your sickness - New York News

Why an antibiotic may not be the answer to your sickness

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Even though it's the season of sickness, pediatricians are being told to stop prescribing so many antibiotics.

You may know it as the common cold, or sometimes it's called an upper respiratory infection, but either way, it's always a virus that Beaumont Children's Hospital Chief of Pediatrics says should not be treated with an antibiotic.

"We breed resistant organisms, then when people do get infections, they tend to be of a much more serious nature," Dr. Brian Berman says.

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC shows more than one in five pediatrician visits leads to a prescription for antibiotics, and usually it's to treat an upper respiratory infection - which may not be helping.
 
In response to why doctors are prescribing antibiotics inappropriately, Berman says "I think there are certain pressures that come to bear. Families will often, in some cases, actually insist that their child receive an antibiotic even when the doctor feels it is not entirely appropriate."
 
Doctors need to help parents understand the difference between a bacterial or viral infection. Symptoms can be confusing.
 
"If they develop severe ear pain, if they have a cough that's becoming much more prominent, if the fever persists for more than a couple days or if it resolves the fever but then returns several days thereafter, there's a suggestion that there now may be a superimposed infection and that's what may require an antibiotic," Berman explains.
 
Taking antibiotics not only wipes out the bad bacteria but kills your good bacteria too, so the message is - avoid them if necessary.

"A number of parents now will come in and say 'Gee if my child doesn't need an antibiotics, lets skip it. Let's skip it this time.' So I think the message is getting out and little by little we're clearly moving in the right direction," Berman adds.

The CDC provides a 'Get Smart' online resource to learn how to know when antibiotics work.

Online: www.cdc.gov/getsmart

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