Published on November 14, 2016

Get Smart about Antibiotics

PELLA, Iowa—Pella Regional Health Center is once again observing the Center for Disease Control’s Get Smart about Antibiotics Week, November 14-20, 2011. According to the CDC, the use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world.

Antibiotics are the most important tool to combat life-threatening bacterial diseases. If antibiotics are used inappropriately, they may not work when patients really need them. Approximately 2 million people in the US acquire serious antibiotic resistant infections and 23,000 people in the US die as a result of antibiotic resistant infections each year.

Antibiotic resistance happens when there are a lot of germs and a few are drug resistant. The antibiotics then kill the bacteria causing the illness, but also the good bacteria protecting the body from infection. At this point, the drug resistant bacteria are then allowed to grow and take over. Some bacteria can give their drug resistance to other bacteria, causing more problems.

As a parent, ask questions to make sure your sick child is getting the best care possible, which might not include an antibiotic. It is estimated that more than half of antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed to children in doctor office settings for cough and cold illness, most of which are caused by viruses.

If an antibiotic will help your child, it’s important to use the one that is designed to fight the bacteria causing your child’s specific illness. If your physician says your child needs an antibiotic, use as prescribed. If an antibiotic is not appropriate, help your child feel better with pain relievers, fever reducers, saline nasal spray or drops, warm compresses, liquids and rest. Ask your physician what symptom relief is best for your child.