Antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause more than 2 million illnesses and at least 23,000 deaths each year in the U.S. Antibiotic resistance occurs when germs no longer respond to the drugs designed to kill them. In many cases, inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance. This is why it’s critical to use antibiotics only when needed.
Infections are often painful and can get in the way of your child’s well-being and everyday activities. You may be surprised to learn that many common infections do not necessarily require antibiotics. However, in cases where antibiotics are necessary to fight your child’s infection, it is always best to confirm with your child’s primary care provider that the infection is bacterial, and to be sure to use the right drug and dose for the correct duration of time.
A few common viral infections that don’t always require an antibiotic include:
- Common cold and runny nose
- Ear infection
- Influenza (flu)
- Sinus infection (sinusitis)
- Sore throat
- Urinary tract infection
Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics. If your primary care provider suggests that your child’s infection is viral, parents should ask how they can treat and manage the symptoms of the virus until they subside.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control website for more information on how you can help your child to feel better at home.