Being ill is never pleasant. For parents who have to watch their child struggle with illness, the experience may be even more difficult, as the urge to intervene and lessen the pain takes hold. If you’ve visited a pediatrician with your under-the-weather child, and your doctor chose not to prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection, he or she is acting with your child’s best interests in mind. According to the CDC – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – as many as 33-50% of antibiotic prescriptions for humans are unnecessary or inappropriate, making over-use of antibiotics one of the most dangerous medical issues of today’s age.

When Are Antibiotics Necessary?
While antibiotics are not appropriate for every type of infection, there are certainly occasions that warrant their use, such as some instances of strep throat, urinary tract infections and sinus and ear infections. If this is the case, your healthcare professional will make it clear.

Antibiotics must always be taken with care, as there are serious problems that can arise with improper use. One of the most significant complications is antibiotic resistance – taking antibiotics incorrectly, in too great a quantity or simply when they’re not required, can actually allow select bacterial strains to adapt to the point where they’re able to successfully overcome potentially effective medications, making antibiotics useless in killing and controlling bacterial growth. Because antibiotic resistance is such a dangerous threat, it’s crucial that pediatricians and other healthcare providers practice due diligence when prescribing antibiotics for bacterial infections – ascertaining that it’s absolutely necessary before doing so.

Why Won’t Antibiotics Treat Viruses?
The reason why viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics is relatively straightforward – they’re simply different organisms from bacteria, and they exhibit distinctly different behavior. A bacterium is a living organism that’s typically easily identifiable by the body’s immune system. Viruses, on the other hand, are significantly smaller than pathogenic bacteria and make a home within a person’s healthy cells, which acts as a tricky hiding place, rendering viruses much more difficult for the immune system to detect and target.

Things To Keep In Mind Regarding Antibiotic Use 
As mentioned, antibiotics can make a world of difference – if used correctly. If antibiotics are prescribed, it’s absolutely crucial that your child takes each dose when it should be taken, and it’s imperative that use is only cut off when instructed by your medical professional. Also, you should never take antibiotics that were prescribed to someone else.

It’s also worth noting that some bacterial infections might be too minor to necessitate prescription of antibiotics. If your healthcare professional suggests that this is the case, take note, because using these types of medicines for minor infections is seldom necessary and can contribute to antibiotic resistance, especially if taken multiple times for the same type of illness. With supervision from your pediatrician, your child may be able to fight off the infection naturally with help from plenty of fluids, rest, over-the-counter medications to combat symptoms and, of course, the passage of time.

Get In Touch With A Touchpoint Pediatrician
Whether you’re looking for more information about the nature of viral and bacterial infections or are simply in search of a new medical facility to provide your child with high-quality, professional and friendly care, feel free to contact Touchpoint Pediatricstoday.