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When to give children antibiotics?

I'm posting this here for a reason- I am very concerned that my children's pediatrician is over prescribing antibiotics. I have been reading some books that discuss how 90% of antibiotics are given for viral illnesses, providing no value and that antibiotics themselves cause disease by killing off the good bacteria in the stomach.

Those of you who are moms- what is your rule of thumb here? Do you do exactly what the doctor tells you to do?

Mon. Aug 20, 10:05am

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I chose my pediatrician based upon my friend's recommendation who loved her. I later learned she loved her b/c she's aggressive w/'prescribing meds and ordering tests. Since that's not my preference, I've decided that just b/c the doc says so, doesn't mean I have to accept it without question. I believe in the doc's competence, so I've stayed with the practice with no complaints. I'll often preface calls to the dr. by saying 'I'm not looking for a prescription here - I just want to talk about what's going on...') I think some drs. are prescription happy to appease parents wanting 'something.'

So, anyway, my rule of thumb? If I have any questions about a prescription, I ask what it's supposed to do, why is it being prescribed, inquire about any recent research that contradicts the proposed course of action, etc. In other words, I don't just do as I'm told unless I understand what it is I'm doing! HTH!

Monday, August 20, 2007, 10:46 AM

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if i ever doubt something that my child's doctor has told me about the welfare of my child, i go get a second opinion from outside of the madical group to which our regular pediatrician belongs. it's worth it. you can find one in your area that is covered by the same insurance either online or by calling your ins. co.

Monday, August 20, 2007, 10:47 AM

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make sure you ask what the actual diagnosis is. if its just tonsillitis for instance..that is viral and antibiotics wont do a thing. if its a severe sinus infection that is probably bacterial and needs meds. i usually take the prescription and go home and look up the diagnosis online. if i then feel like its something that should have the meds..i fill it. if not...and i know its viral..i dont. a mothers intuition is usually right..if u feel your child needs meds...use them.

Monday, August 20, 2007, 10:53 AM

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i don't think the advice given above, about deciding what's best for your child's medication needs based on your own research, is very good or very smart. unless you are a medical researcher or the equivalent who is not reading material from the internet as your primary research tool, you don't have the broad lot of actual scientifically based information available. why bring the child to the doctor in the first place if you are not going to trust the diagnosis? my advice is to be open and up front about the approach you wouyld like to folow with regard to medications with your child's doctor (i would like to explore all possible remedies before using prescription drugs).

Monday, August 20, 2007, 11:08 AM

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I think doing your own research is not only smart, but necessary. Doctors in the US are sometimes good or great on an individual basis, but terrible collectively. The stats prove this- the US is ranked 30th or something globally in the level of care we get. Unless a doctor is a specialist, the service they provide could basically be done by a nurse.

In terms of antibiotics- ear infections are the most common medical problem for kids in the US. Nine out of ten will develop at least one each year, and 1/3 of those will develop fluid in the ear from this. The kicker here though is that most ear infections are viral, not bacterial, and will resolve on their own.


Monday, August 20, 2007, 11:45 AM

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the nurses in my dr.'s office work a lot harder than the doctors. the prescriptions they prescribe may differ amongst other doctors, but that depends on which pharmaceutical company is giving them kickbacks/incentives to promote their product.

Monday, August 20, 2007, 11:48 AM

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Yes, you should use caution when taking antibiotics. Never use them to treat viral illnesses. They will not do a hting, only damage the child's immune system. I have see this happen many times.

My mom (who is not a child, but this still applies), took a very heavy dose of antibiotics for her bronchial infection for a long time. Although in this case it was bacterial, and it was necessary, it still damaged her immune system. About a week after getting off the antibiotics, she developed a horrendous infection near her lungs, because her natural immune system was so weak. It spread to her breasts, and doctors at first though it was cancer, until tests showed it was bacterial infections. She had the tumors removed with surgery.

My rule of thumb is to always use antibiotics sparingly - meaning don't take them for just anything. Pick and choose. Use them only when the infections are so bad that it is painful or very uncomfortable.

Monday, August 20, 2007, 3:03 PM

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my 3 year old was given antibiotics for an ear infection, and the doctor got FURIOUS when she learned that I did not end up giving them. My son got better in about three days without them. It was funny because she suspected that I was hesitant, and badgered me the next time I came in the office. Amazing how angry a doctor can get when you dissent.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 2:21 PM

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Wow I haven't heard of an ear infection getting better without treatment. That usually ends up with a ruptured ear drum, very painful, I speak from experience!
However I agree with eveyone and the idea that prescriptions are out of control. They should never be used to treat viruses, they do no good.

On a personal note and warning: I am in my late 20s and have a friend that went to the Dr every time she got a cold, the flu, anything. Her Dr. gave her prescriptions EVERY TIME, the girl was ALWAYS sick and now has a weakened immune system later in life. She now suffers from alopecia (sp?) a disorder where her immune system attacks her hair causing it to fall out. So please only use prescriptions for your children when absolutely necessary, they might suffer later in life if you don't.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 3:32 PM

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Sorry, I'm the previous poster: I forgot to say that her onset of alopecia is related to the over use of antibiotics since she was a child...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 3:34 PM

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antibiotics have their place, but they are not always the right treatment.

for ear infections and acid reflux, i take my children to the chiropractor and we do not give them antibiotics or medications.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 3:35 PM

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3:32 - it's true, not all ear infections require antibiotics and they can get better on their own without treatment. Doesn't sound like that was the case for you, but for a lot of kids it's fine.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 7:48 PM

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