Prescription for Trouble: Why Too Many Antibiotics Aren't Good for Kids

Problems with Antibiotics

Part of the problem is that pediatricians sometimes prescribe antibiotics simply because parents want them to. In one CDC study, parents walked away with a prescription 65 percent of the time if the doctor thought they expected one, but only 12 percent of the time otherwise. "Although some physicians are getting the message, it's still a problem," says Lauri Hicks, D.O., medical director of the CDC program Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work. Earlier this year, the CDC also sent letters to several chain pharmacies expressing concern about their programs that were offering customers free generic antibiotics as the solution for colds and flu. Officials worried this would increase pressure on doctors to prescribe antibiotics inappropriately.

Let's face it: As parents, we typically put our child's immediate well-being—and sometimes our own need to get back to work—ahead of a remote concept like bacterial evolution. If there's a chance antibiotics will make our child feel better, we may be tempted to take it. However, antibiotic resistance is not a problem we can worry about tomorrow. Kids are already at risk when they get the following seemingly run-of-the-mill illnesses, so it's important to know when antibiotics don't make sense.

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