Antibiotic alert: Reducing drug overuse in kids

Updated: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:22 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (WGEM) --- There’s a growing concern among pediatricians and pharmacists about the overuse of antibiotics in children. New evidence suggests children are being prescribed antibiotics more often than necessary, potentially creating more dangerous drug resistant infections. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates at least 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur each year in the US. Leading to over 35 thousand deaths. Ivanhoe reports on what parents and pediatricians can do to help.

Whether it’s the sneezes, sniffles, coughs or fevers, we want our little ones to feel better fast … but are antibiotics always the answer?

Jared Olson, PharmD, Pharmacist, Infectious Diseases at Intermountain Health’s Primary Children’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah, explains, “The biggest misuses of antibiotics in children are really for viral infections.”

But do you know the difference between a bacterial infection and a virus? For example, strep throat is a bacterial infection. Colds are a virus. Infectious Disease Pharmacist, Jared Olson, has a warning for patients about antibiotics. “They come at a cost that’s in side effects. So, some of the most common side effects that we see with antibiotics are diarrhea and also rashes that are relatively minor. But we can also see really serious adverse events such as allergic reactions that require hospitalizations.”

Over the past decade the CDC reports antibiotic prescriptions for children have increased by 50 percent.

And that overuse is creating more drug resistant organisms.

Olson says, “It’s become really concerning recently because we don’t have a lot of new drugs that are being developed.”

New research shows that if your child does need antibiotics, shorter durations are just as effective as longer durations. And parents can do their part by not insisting on antibiotics for every illness.

A study in the Journal of Pediatrics reveals that almost 50 percent of doctor visits for respiratory infections resulted in antibiotic prescriptions, despite the doctors telling the parents it would not help.

Copyright 2023 WGEM. All rights reserved.