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Is Your Child Taking Too Many Antibiotics?
Health experts fear that American children may be taking too many antibiotics. According to a new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, among the 1 in 3 pediatric patients receiving antibiotics in U.S. children’s hospitals, at least 25 percent may be getting antibiotics they don’t need. These are the facts parents need to know to keep their families safe.
Please note: we are not providing medical advice. As health advocates, we believe it’s essential that Connecticut patients should stay informed about topics in the medical field that can assist them in making educated decisions about their health.
What Are Inappropriate Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are extremely effective in preventing life-threatening bacterial infections. But, despite the significant benefits, antibiotics can be extremely harmful to patients when they are used inappropriately.
Researchers in the Clinical Infectious Diseases study evaluated over 12,000 pediatric patients across 32 hospitals nationwide who were taking one or more antibiotics during treatment. To evaluate the appropriate use of antibiotics among pediatric patients, researchers analyzed several factors of the treatment course, including frequency, dosage, types used, and conditions that antibiotics were being prescribed for. This what they found:
- 27% were receiving the wrong antibiotic
- 17% were receiving antibiotics for too long
- 11% were receiving unnecessary antibiotics
- 11% were receiving antibiotics in place of other drugs that could have reduced infections.
According to the study, children who were diagnosed with pneumonia were the most commonly prescribed antibiotics. At least 18 percent of these children were receiving them inappropriately. Another group most often prescribed antibiotics were children who recently had surgery. In these cases, researchers found physicians were prescribing antibiotics longer than needed.
The Biggest Risk of Antibiotics
The most serious side-effect of taking too many antibiotics is the onset of antibiotic resistance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), antibiotic resistance occurs when the germs in your body no longer respond to antibiotics. This allows bacteria to spread and can lead to fatal conditions such as sepsis and septic shock.
The C.D.C. reports that antibiotic resistance is becoming a global health concern, especially with the increase in cases among children. In the U.S. alone, 2.8 million Americans are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result.
How To Reduce Your Child’s Risk
Keeping your family healthy and practicing good health habits will reduce your need for antibiotics to start. When antibiotics are needed, these are the topics to discuss with your child’s doctor:
- Ask if antibiotic treatment is the best treatment for your child.
- Check to make sure the dosage and length of treatment is correct.
- Ask if the antibiotic prescribed is specific enough for your child’s condition. Using the wrong antibiotic may not target the bacteria and could lead to the need for another treatment.
- Talk to your doctor about your concerns with antibiotic treatments and how you can reduce your child’s risk for the condition.
Connecticut Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Hospitals and medical professionals have an obligation to prevent their patients from foreseeable harm. If you or a loved has been injured due to the medical negligence of a health care facility or physician, you may be eligible to receive compensation for any damages suffered. Contact our expert team of medical malpractice attorneys at Jacobs & Wallace for a free consultation and to explore your options.