Home » New Guidelines for Giving Children Antibiotics: Assess First

New Guidelines for Giving Children Antibiotics: Assess First

Parents should assess kids first before giving antibiotics to children

According to recent release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are new guidelines recommended for giving children antibiotics to cure the common cold. New research suggests that antibiotics cannot cure upper respiratory infections. Furthermore, the prescriptions carry a risk to more than 10 million children because upper respiratory infections can result from antibiotic complications. Parents are advised to not give their children antibiotics unless it is truly needed.

The CDC said antibiotic resistance is at the top of the list for health concerns in the United States. Overuse and unnecessary dosage of antibiotics fuels that resistance. Side effects from antibiotics are also undesirable since they can include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, and headaches within patients and may not even cure the sickness. The side effects from antibiotics alone account for more than 150,000 doctor visits each year. It is also common for kids to have severe allergic reactions.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one out of five pediatric visits result in an antibiotic prescription. They conclude out of the total prescriptions issued every year in the U.S., more than 10 million issued for infections in the upper respiratory area will not improve from the antibiotics.

The CDC, in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics, issued new principles for doctors to follow for the child patients:

-Establish whether the infection is viral or bacterial (antibiotics cannot fight viruses)
-Assess the benefits vs. harm of opting to use the antibiotics
-Issue suitable prescribing procedures (covering dose and duration)

There was a time when bacterial infections were among the highest causes of death in children. Paul Ehrlich, a physician and scientist, found the first effective antibiotic, arsphenamine. Yet, the side effects were so dire that many died from taking the antibiotic. Many drugs followed as the years went on and finally penicillin was discovered as safe and effective.  Soon after, penicillin and other similar compounds were widespread and are still used today. Antibiotic use did dramatically lower risks of death in pediatric cases. However, it is the widespread use that led to the problem today.

Studies continue to highlight that persistent use and misuse of antibiotics led to multiple strains of resistant bacteria.

The CDC maintains that around 2 million Americans are infected with the antibiotic resistant bacteria each year and 25,000 reportedly die. They are adamant about the new guidelines because any use of antibiotics whether necessary or not will contribute to the risk of an individual’s resistance to antibiotics taken in the future.

Alternative treatments are available before turning to antibiotics. The American Academy of Family Physicians says parents can use vapor rub, zinc supplements and nasal irrigations. It also can help to wait out to see if symptoms diminish before rushing to the doctors’ office.

The CDC urges parents and doctors to consider the new guidelines before giving their children antibiotics. The new underlying recommendation is to not give antibiotics unless positive and negative outcomes are considered and be aware that taking antibiotics when you have a virus will end in more harm than good.

By Cayce Manesiotis



Washington Post