The Danger of Antibiotic Overuseenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/P_AntibioticOveruse_enHD_AR1.jpgTaking antibiotics too often or for the wrong reason has led to a dangerous rise in bacteria that no longer respond to medicine. Find out what you can do to prevent antibiotic overuse.antibiotics, resistance, bacteria, virus, colds, flus, inluenza, ear infections, pneumonia, doctors, pediatricans, prescriptions, amoxycillins, penicillins, erthromycins, otitis medias, medications, respiratory infections, infections, germs, sick, ill, sore throats, coughs, stomach upset, diarrhea, side effects of antibiotics, immune systems, immunity, good bacteria, viral illness, bacterial illness, meningitis, skin infections01/10/200212/17/201912/17/2019Kate M. Cronan, MD07/01/201935450851-5c65-4c1e-bab3-b8668a7b309dhttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/antibiotic-overuse.html/<h3>What Is Antibiotic Overuse?</h3> <p>Antibiotic overuse is when antibiotics are used when they're not needed. Antibiotics are one of the great advances in medicine. But overprescribing them has led to <strong>resistant bacteria&nbsp;</strong>(bacteria that are harder to treat).</p> <p>Some <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/germs.html/">germs</a> that were once very responsive to antibiotics have become more and more resistant. This can cause more serious infections, such as pneumococcal infections (<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/pneumonia.html/">pneumonia</a>, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/otitis-media.html/">ear infections</a>, sinus infections, and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/meningitis.html/">meningitis</a>), skin infections, and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/tuberculosis.html/">tuberculosis</a>.</p> <h3>What Do Antibiotics Treat?</h3> <p>Two major types of <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/germs.html/">germs</a> can make people sick: <strong>bacteria</strong> and <strong>viruses</strong>. They can cause diseases with similar symptoms, but they multiply and spread illness differently:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li><strong>Bacteria</strong> are <em>living</em> organisms existing as single cells. Bacteria are everywhere and most don't cause any harm, and in some cases are beneficial. But some bacteria are harmful and cause illness by invading the body, multiplying, and interfering with normal body processes.<br /><br /><strong>Antibiotics work against bacteria</strong> because they kill these living organisms by stopping their growth and reproduction.</li> <li><strong>Viruses</strong>, on the other hand, are <em>not</em> alive. Viruses grow and reproduce only after they've invaded other living cells. The body's <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/immune.html/">immune system</a> can fight off some viruses before they cause illness, but others (like <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cold.html/">colds</a>) must simply run their course. <strong>Antibiotics do not work against viruses.</strong></li> </ul> <h3>Why Are Antibiotics Overprescribed?</h3> <p>Doctors prescribe antibiotics for different reasons. Sometimes they prescribe them when they're not sure if an illness is caused by bacteria or a virus or are waiting for test results. So, some patients might expect a prescription for an antibitoic and even ask their doctor for it.</p> <p>For example, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/strep-throat.html/">strep throat</a> is a bacterial infection, but most sore throats are due to viruses, allergies, or other things that antibiotics cannot treat. But many people with a sore throat will go to a health care provider expecting &mdash; and getting &mdash; a prescription for antibiotics that they do not need.</p> <div class="rs_skip rs_preserve"><!-- TinyMCE Fix --> <script src="//familysurvey.org/misc/javascript/js_apps/video/kh-video-metadata.js" type="text/javascript"></script> <script src="//familysurvey.org/misc/javascript/js_apps/video/kh-video-controller.js" type="text/javascript"></script> <script src="//familysurvey.org/misc/javascript/js_apps/video/single-well-child-antibiotics-en.js" type="text/javascript"></script> </div> <h3>What Happens When Antibiotics Are Overused?</h3> <p>Taking antibiotics for colds and other viral illnesses doesn't work &mdash; and it can create bacteria that are harder to kill.</p> <p>Taking antibiotics too often or for the wrong reasons can change bacteria so much that antibiotics don't work against them. This is called <strong>bacterial resistance</strong> or <strong>antibiotic resistance</strong>. Some bacteria are now resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics available.</p> <p>Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls it "one of the world's most pressing public health problems." It's especially a concern in low-income and developing countries. That's because:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Health care providers there often lack quick, helpful diagnostic tools that can identify which illnesses are caused by bacteria and which are not.</li> <li>Many of the areas only recently got widespread access to antibiotics.</li> <li>Lack of clean water, poor sanitation, and limited vaccine programs contribute to the infections and illnesses that antibiotics are prescribed for.</li> </ul> <h3>What Can Parents Do?</h3> <p>Every family faces its share of colds, <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/sore-throat-sheet.html/">sore throats</a>, and viruses. When you bring your child to the doctor for these illnesses, it's important to <strong>not</strong> expect a prescription for antibiotics.</p> <p>To lower the risk of bacterial resistance and prevent antibiotic overuse:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Ask your doctor if your child's illness is bacterial or viral. Discuss the risks and benefits of antibiotics. If it's a virus, ask about ways to treat symptoms. Don't pressure your doctor to prescribe antibiotics.</li> <li>Let milder illnesses (especially those caused by viruses) run their course. This helps prevent germs from becoming antibiotic-resistant.</li> <li>Antibiotics must be taken for the full amount of time prescribed by the doctor. Otherwise, the infection may come back.</li> <li>Don't let your child take antibiotics longer than prescribed.</li> <li>Do not use leftover antibiotics or save extra antibiotics "for next time."</li> <li>Don't give your child antibiotics that were prescribed for another family member or adult.</li> </ul> <p>It's also important to make sure that your kids:</p> <ul> <li>are up to date on their <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/vaccine.html/">immunizations</a></li> <li>stay home from school when they're sick</li> <li><a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hand-washing.html/">wash their hands</a> well and often</li> </ul>El peligro de abusar de los antibióticosAbusar de los antibióticos es cuando estos medicamentos se usan cuando no son necesarios. Los antibióticos son uno de los grandes avances de la medicina. Pero, el abuso de los antibióticos ha conducido al desarrollo de bacterias resistentes.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/es/parents/antibiotic-overuse-esp.html/35fb2112-92ad-4ff5-80e1-f912c9526d71
AbscessAn abscess is a sign of an infection, usually on the skin. Find out what to do if your child develops one.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/abscess.html/f31fd7e9-3f18-41b3-9409-0075181f6ca4
CellulitisCellulitis is an infection of the skin and underlying tissues that can affect any area of the body. It begins in an area of broken skin, like a cut or scratch.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/cellulitis.html/15292526-b2b5-46b8-ae79-391dbea116c7
FeversFevers happen when the body's internal "thermostat" raises the body temperature above normal. This is often the body's way of fighting infections.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/fever.html/42ab5a5d-1c03-493e-acf5-0ac569d1b946
Germs: Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi, and ProtozoaGerms are the microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that can cause disease.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/germs.html/78b1159a-926b-4cce-aeaa-d5220def6a58
ImpetigoImpetigo is a skin infection caused by fairly common bacteria. Read this article to learn how to recognize it and what to do about it.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/impetigo.html/441158a7-f32f-4a91-80bb-f7273effb343
MRSAMRSA is a type of bacteria that the usual antibiotics can't tackle anymore. Simple precautions can help protect your kids from becoming infected.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/mrsa.html/45242956-043b-400a-8ac7-cce1891a9c43
Medicines: Using Them SafelyGiving kids medicine safely can be complicated. Here's how you can help treat your child's illness while you prevent dangerous reactions.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/medication-safety.html/a9ab412d-9b81-4c9c-ab34-b597e0434e9a
OsteomyelitisSometimes a bad cut that gets infected can lead to even worse things, like a bone infection called osteomyelitis. The easiest way to protect yourself is to practice good hygiene.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/osteomyelitis.html/018fa95e-9847-44f8-8128-15ce46ab062b
PneumoniaPneumonia is a common lung infection that can usually be treated without a hospital stay.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/pneumonia.html/7b679cf8-e8b0-4029-b996-34126292e231
SepsisSepsis is a serious infection usually caused when bacteria make toxins that cause the immune system to attack the body's own organs and tissues.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/sepsis.html/ae008ddb-6b3a-494d-b020-cb6ccbbe8bcb
SinusitisSinus infections, or sinusitis, are common and easily treated.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/sinusitis.html/98e3dd54-b0fb-4390-98f2-2ca7053934f4
Staph InfectionsWhen skin is punctured or broken for any reason, staph bacteria can enter the wound and cause an infection. But good hygiene can prevent many staph infections. Learn more.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/staphylococcus.html/eb617e21-017c-44ab-bc1e-dfa5f4e8cd05
Strep ThroatStrep throat is a common cause of sore throat in kids and teens. It usually requires treatment with antibiotics, but improves in a few days.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/strep-throat.html/4504e91d-3bbd-4d1a-beb8-516fc25df480
Understanding Medicines and What They DoMedicines can cure, stop, or prevent disease; ease symptoms; or help in the diagnosis of illnesses. This article describes different types of medications and offers tips on taking them.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/teens/meds.html/27ccecec-2cce-43a0-be3f-1e030e7fdef6
Vaccines & Antibiotics: A Safe Combo?Find out what the experts have to say.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/vaccines-and-antibiotics.html/f98de78d-f165-4831-8a7e-52d34a8e39f7
What Medicines Are and What They DoYou've taken medicine before. But what is it?https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/kidmedic.html/cba7ea15-1b72-4554-a1fa-28a4fd3b0245
Word! AntibioticsThese awesome medicines attack bacteria that make you sick.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/word-antibiotics.html/a5faf2a1-624e-49ff-a61e-47ca42fa9649
Word! BacteriaIf you're feeling crummy, it's probably because nasty bacteria or some other germs have gotten into your body and made you sick.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/word-bacteria.html/7bb83a46-6c12-4936-9800-851a281c47d3
Word! InfectionWhen germs get inside your body, they can multiply and cause an infection.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/word-infection.html/e086f2bb-9579-4496-b9e6-6546410c6689
Word! VirusViruses are a type of germ. They're very tiny, and when they get inside your body, they can make you sick.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/kids/word-virus.html/3c662dbc-2271-434a-b974-3701aec2e97d
kh:age-allAgesOrAgeAgnostickh:clinicalDesignation-generalPediatricskh:genre-articlekh:primaryClinicalDesignation-infectiousDiseaseTreatmenthttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/flu-center/flu-center-treatment/a8a69e78-b177-47c4-90b4-7552b3c847a7Medicinehttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/system/medicine/32be9cd2-a1c3-4c93-ba8f-8c6c871fdb24Bacterial & Viral Infectionshttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/infections/bacterial-viral/401507d2-7822-44aa-8109-e54dc4c18e61