Infection in a child = antibiotic - are you sure?
It is assumed that children in early childhood they get sick on average 8 to 10 times a year. In most cases (up to 90 percent) these are mild, usually viral, upper respiratory tract infections of a self-limiting nature. Thus, they usually do not require treatment with antibiotics (these drugs are completely ineffective in the fight against viruses), but only symptomatic treatment and vigilant observation of the child's condition.
Infection in a child - when do you need an antibiotic?
Most infections in children do not require antibiotic treatment. But when can this form of therapy be necessary?
- The infection continues and the child's condition worsens - it should be remembered that originally a viral infection can very easily turn into a much heavier bacterial one. That is why vigilant observation of one's child during every illness is so important (he should be worried a sudden increase in body temperature, joining of chills, or difficult contact with the toddler).
- The child has a high temperature (above 38 degrees Celsius) and chills - these symptoms occur more often in the course of bacterial infections.
- The infection has a very rapid course - bacterial infections, compared to viral ones, are usually characterized by a much more dynamic course (symptoms appear suddenly and often increase within a few hours).
Here it should be noted that differentiating the viral and bacterial background of infection in a child is very difficult. He should only do this an experienced pediatrician who, in some cases, can help with bacteriological tests (swabs) and rapid tests for the presence of specific pathogens (e.g. DINA Strep A test to detect group A strep throat responsible for strep throat).
What could be the potential consequences of not giving your child an antibiotic?
Unlike viral infections, bacterial infections usually do not go away without treatment, and are even exacerbated. Thus, failing to take an antibiotic in their case threatens the child with very important health consequences that can affect his whole life.
Of course, the doctor's decision to include antibiotic therapy may be wrong, and the drug itself unnecessary. However, given the potential benefits and harms of such therapy, a more beneficial solution for the child's health is start of treatment despite doubts.
Missed dose of antibiotic - how to deal with it?
Subsequent doses of the antibiotic should be administered at strictly defined intervals (usually 12 or 8 hours). This is to maintain a stable blood drug level and to ensure that the treatment is as effective as possible. But what if you miss one of the doses? In this situation, the child should be given the next dose of medicine, and the forgotten one should be moved to the end of the treatment, thereby extending it.
The antibiotic should be taken to the end
Some parents are tempted to stop taking the antibiotic when the child's condition improves. This is a big mistake that can lead to a relapse, a carrier state (the child carries bacteria that can reveal its presence when the immunity decreases) or the selection of bacteria resistant to the drug. Thus, despite the fact that our child is already potentially healthy, it should take an antibiotic for the entire time planned by the doctor.
In conclusion, antibiotic treatment is necessary for many diseases and should not be abandoned, as it can lead to very dangerous consequences. However, it should be remembered that a parent always has the right to submit to the pediatrician all their doubts and to answer all questions about the illness and treatment of their child.