CHILD HEALTH: Antibiotics and painkillers could do more harm than good

19 April 2016
Reading time1 min

There was a time when antibiotics and painkillers were routinely prescribed for children, but doctors are now advocating great caution in this regard.

As parents, we all know the challenges of having a sick child. The challenges are especially great when you come home from the doctor, your child in obvious discomfort, yet all that has been prescribed is rest.

But there is a reason doctors are no longer readily handing out prescriptions for antibiotics and painkillers.

In an article by News Corp Australia, it was pointed out that infectious diseases experts warn that the overuse of pain killers and antibiotics is actually returning Australian health care back to the pre-antibiotic stage where surgery is required to remove infections rather than a tablet.

Professor Linsday Grayson of Austin Hospital has suggested that the overuse of antibiotics for minor infections are fuelling the explosion of resistant infections that are having detrimental health impacts, even death.

Why antibiotics shouldn’t be used

There was a time when antibiotics were routinely prescribed for an ear infections and chest infections. However, as part of the Choosing Wisely campaign, this is no longer the case. Choosing Wisely states that using antibiotics too often can be harmful because:

  • They do not work for ear infections caused by a virus
  • They do not help with pain
  • Usually viral or bacterial infections go away on their own in two to three days, particularly in children over two years old.
  • Antibiotics fight bacteria NOT viruses
  • Most colds and flu ARE viruses, including Bronchitis
  • Most sinus infections also stem from viruses

When you should stop reaching for the painkillers

It’s often second nature for a mother to reach for painkillers when a child’s temperature is soaring or they’re clearly in pain. However, new evidence has shown that fever is good and stops viruses and bacteria multiplying. The recommendation is that medication is ONLY used if the fever is making the child uncomfortable or distressed.

We always recommend a visit to your GP but in addition to allowing your child to have a good amount of rest and keeping up fluids, there are also some alternative options for beating cold and flu bugs here.

What do you do to help your child get over a bug?

Written by

Eva Lewis

Eva is a digital content expert who runs a successful women's lifestyle blog - The Multitasking Woman. Eva is an experienced social media manager, digital consultant, article writer and copywriter and has written for various publications and business websites over the years.  When Eva doesn't have her head in the digital space, she enjoys spending time with her husband, six year old son and one year old daughter, ploughing through her current favourite books in the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, gardening and chatting with her chooks. 

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