When your little one has an ear infection or a bad cold and is crying half the night, all you want is a magic pill to make it better but, sometimes, no pill is the best choice.
Do not automatically give kids antibiotics for ear infections, flu and bronchitis (all of which are usually caused by viruses). Antibiotics are designed to knock out bacterial infections, not viruses. Yet, every year, more than millions of unnecessary and ineffective prescriptions for antibiotics are written to “treat” common viral infections. This only worsens the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotics are wonder drugs but be wise about using them:
Giving kids antibiotics may eradicate good gut bacteria in their developing intestines. This, in turn, may damage their immune systems.
The result? Researchers think the ever-increasing use of antibiotics may be what’s causing the number of cases of allergic asthma to skyrocket. When your child comes down with a cold, flu or upper-respiratory illness, ask if antibiotics are really the best solution. Sometimes less is more.
Photo: P.V. Sivakumar