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Ask About the Antibiotics Prescribed for Your Child

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Nov 22nd 2018

new article illustration

THURSDAY, Nov. 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Parents, there are a number of questions you should ask when your child is prescribed antibiotics in the hospital, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

While antibiotics can save lives, overuse of the drugs can lead to antibiotic resistance.

"It's important to select the right antibiotic dose at the right time for the right duration," said Dr. Theoklis Zaoutis, a member of the AAP committee on infectious diseases.

"Some antibiotics that are routinely prescribed to attack a broad spectrum of disease-causing bacteria are not necessary and may contribute to this problem of resistance," Zaoutis explained in a news release from the group.

The AAP and Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society developed a list of recommendations to serve as a starting point of conversation between children's parents and doctors:

  • Before antibiotics are prescribed, appropriate tests should be done to confirm bacterial infection. During surgery, antibiotics to prevent infection should not be used indiscriminately.
  • Ampicillin is the first choice of treatment for children hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia who are otherwise healthy and immunized. Broader-spectrum antibiotics, such as cephalosporins, have been shown to contribute to antibiotic resistance and are often unnecessary, the authors noted.
  • Antibiotics such as vancomycin or carbapenems should be avoided unless a child is known to have a specific risk for germs that are resistant to other antibiotics.
  • Prolonged use of IV antibiotics should be avoided. For most infections, children respond well to antibiotics given by mouth after brief treatment with IV antibiotics.

"We want to see children get healthy as soon as possible while avoiding the potential harms of antibiotic overuse," said Dr. Jeff Gerber, a member of the infectious diseases committee. "Ultimately, the decision is left to the discretion of the medical team."

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on antibiotics.