Antibiotics are a very good resource to treat different bacterial infections, no one can deny it. However, during the first months of the baby’s life, it is more difficult to detect if the infection is caused by a virus or is caused by bacteria. Therefore, experts recommend that, before starting any treatment, you have to make sure you really need to use them.
An antibiotic should not be given to a child or baby without being prescribed by the paediatrician. But many parents wonder what we rely on to do it or not. Let’s find about Antibiotics in deep.
What is an antibiotic?
An antibiotic is a medicine that kills bacteria and/or makes it difficult for them to reproduce.
Therefore, we use it to help defend a patient suffering from an infection caused by bacteria. It does not help to fight against infections caused by other germs, such as fungi, viruses, protozoa.
Is it bad to give antibiotics to children and babies?
Like any medication, antibiotics on medicine also have some side effects. Therefore, they should not be used except when justified.
But we are able to live with most of them. These bacteria with which we live without being attacked are what we call “Flora Saprofita”. The best known is the Intestinal Flora.
When we take an Antibiotic we damage that flora. Sometimes it is necessary to defend ourselves against some aggressive bacteria that is hurting us. But taking it when it is not justified is doing harm to the good bacteria that we live with. And that means leaving a free field that can be occupied by bad bacteria. It is not advisable to do it if we can avoid it.
Children and Infants have a weaker intestinal flora that can be more easily damaged when we use Antibiotics. That’s why you have to justify its use very well.
Criteria that do not justify giving an antibiotic to a child or baby
1} Fever is not a reason to give antibiotics
No matter how high it is or how many days it takes with it.
There are people who give the antibiotic when a child has more than 1-3 days with a fever. This is a bad practice. A very high fever can last many days. But in it antibiotics are useless.
2} The green mucus is not a reason to give antibiotics
Some people say that when there is green mucus it is because there is a bacterial infection and therefore antibiotics should be given. It is not like this. As soon as your child spends a full winter you will notice that the mucus changes color very easily, even during the same day.It is frequent that a boy who has clear mucus during the day has it thick when waking up in the morning. And that after cleaning it again be clear during the day.
3} In bronchitis, most of the time the cause is, again, a virus. And therefore it is useless to give antibiotic in them.
Infections that need antibiotic
Although antibiotics should be used with caution, the fact is that they save lives. According to the WHO, infant mortality has been significantly reduced in recent years thanks to its good use. Some infections need to be treated with antibiotics because they are caused by bacteria and the infection will only get worse if not treated with them. Some examples of serious infections that need antibiotics for babies under one year of age are meningitis, pneumonia, bloodstream infection and urinary tract infections.
Points one should know about antibiotics:
1. Antibiotics have saved millions of lives. It is essential to use them properly so that they continue to be useful.
2. They are only effective for infections caused by bacteria
Most childhood infections are caused by viruses and therefore are not cured or relieved with antibiotics
3. Fever is not treated with antibiotics
Their presence does not mean they are necessary
4. The law prohibits selling antibiotics without a prescription
Only the doctor can prescribe them. They can not be taken without your supervision
5. Antibiotics left over from others should not be used
These should be taken to SIGRE point (collection points in pharmacies for recycling)
6. Antibiotics should be taken in the doses, guidelines and for as long as the doctor has recommended.
7. Antibiotics should not be stopped even if the symptoms of the disease disappear except by medical indication
8. Antibiotics are safe medications but in some cases, they can have side effects or produce allergies. In these cases, you should consult with the doctor.
9. Misused antibiotics are no longer effective because the bacteria become resistant to their effects. This is a serious health problem.
10. Antibiotics should be used with certain precautions during pregnancy or lactation. These circumstances should be discussed with your doctor
Remember- Antibiotics kill bad bacteria and also good bacteria “The weaker intestinal flora of babies is more easily damaged and this alters the absorption of calories and decreases the benefits of breastfeeding. Therefore consultation with a doctor is compulsory before giving an antibiotic to your child.
Antibiotics have, like all medicines, their risks of toxicity and side effects. Each infection needs to be treated with the right antibiotic and the correct doses and duration. Therefore, you should not self-medicate but always use them under the prescription of the pediatrician and comply with their instructions