The idea of catching an infectious disease is on the minds of many individuals. And, with that, come along a lot of different questions, such as do you have a fever, or do I need antibiotics? I remember a time when my son felt like I could fry an egg on his head. He had a fever of 104 F, and had the same questions and worries.
The American Academy of Pediatrics put together a great easy-to-go-through webpage which addresses 10 common questions answered about antibiotic prescriptions for children, and here is the quick bulleted version of it.
- Colds are caused by viruses, and antibiotics are used specifically to treat bacterial infections. Most common cold symptoms improve on their own without using medicines in 10 days. Children in day care can get 6-8 colds a year.
- In most cases, bacterial infections do not follow viral infections.
- Yellow or green mucous draining from the nose does not automatically mean antibiotics are needed. Nasal mucous can be expected to become thick and change color with a cold.
- Viruses can also cause ear infections and at least half of all ear infections can self-resolve without antibiotics.
- More than 80% of sore throats are caused by a virus. Sore throat caused by a bacterial infection is treated with an antibiotic.
- Side effects can occur in 10% of children who take an antibiotic.
- Most bacterial infections respond in 48-72 hours after starting an antibiotic.
- The repeated use and misuse of antibiotics can lead to resistant bacteria.
- For most viruses which cause cough and cold symptoms, there are no antiviral medications that work or are recommended, but an antiviral medication is considered for children at higher risk of becoming severely ill with influenza.
- Some tips to take antibiotics safely: give the medication exactly as prescribed, do not use the antibiotic for a sibling or friend, and keep the medication in a secure place.
Sometimes these questions come up at the most inopportune time, and we are here to help answer, and find those answers, for the appropriate care needed.