Local pediatricians have important reminders about antibiotics

Charles Peters, M.D., a consultant pediatrician with Mayo Clinic Health System, said parents sometimes come to him expecting to leave with a prescription, but some common illnesses don’t need them.

Bacterial infections like ear and sinus infections, pneumonia and strep throat are treated with antibiotics. But if your child has a viral infection, such as the cold or the flu, doctors say it will run its course, and antibiotics won’t help.

A viral infection will usually last around three to five days, said Peters, but if one last more than a week it might mean bacteria are involved.

“When these illnesses persist longer than we would expect, or there are features or characteristics that suggest the character of the infection has changed to a bacteria then it would be appropriate for us to evaluate the child and consider whether they do indeed need to be treated with an antibiotic,” said Peters.

Peters said frequent us of antibiotics can cause problems with your colon, and it can also lead to the development of drug-resistant bacteria. These bacteria will not only make you sick but are very dangerous to kids with high risks for infection.

“When we do use an antibiotic we want to make sure that we’re doing so for good reason, because in their cases, development of a resistant type of bacteria could have more serious consequences,” said Peters.

Peters also said to be responsible when using over the counter antibiotics like ointments or creams.

You can find out more about antibiotics at www.mayoclinic.org.

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