December 2, 2022

Antibiotics and children: when and how to use them


It is essential that antibiotics work when your child needs them. So, in this article, we are going to talk about the correct application of antibiotics when it comes to children.

When should my child use antibiotics?

“Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, not viral illnesses,” says Waheed Abdurahman, pharmacist at Clicks. “It means they’re not good at treating colds and flu which are caused by rhinoviruses, flu and other viruses. So if your child has a stuffy nose, cough, and sore throat, antibiotics are definitely not the right treatment option for them. “

Waheed says the best way to treat viral illnesses in children is to talk to your doctor for symptom relief until your child’s body is able to fight off the virus.

What happens when children misuse antibiotics?

Overused and improperly prescribed antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance in your child. When a sick child does not complete their full course of antibiotics, the medicine kills only some of the bacteria, but not all. The surviving bacteria become stronger and more resistant to the antibiotic, so it becomes less effective. This mutated bacteria can also spread to other people, which means that it cannot be treated with this antibiotic either.

Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR) is a major example of how a disease has become resistant and is now much more difficult to treat than regular tuberculosis. MDR has happened because some TB patients, who need a very long course of antibiotics, did not complete the course, and the TB virus mutated as a result.

How can I help my child’s antibiotics do their job?

Here’s how you can make sure your child’s antibiotics stay strong enough to fight infections:

  • Understand when to use antibiotics and don’t give your child antibiotics every time they are sick.
  • Don’t pressure your child’s doctor to prescribe antibiotics. Instead, ask your pediatrician to explain how to relieve your child’s symptoms.
  • Give your child antibiotics only when prescribed by their doctor.
  • Make sure your child takes their antibiotics exactly as their healthcare professional has told them to. Do not let your child miss doses. If in doubt, ask your Clicks pharmacist for advice.
  • Make sure your child finishes treatment, even if he starts to feel better and however long the treatment is.
  • Never share antibiotics with your child and never take leftover antibiotics prescribed for adults.
  • Try to prevent the spread of infections by washing your hands regularly with soap, especially after using the toilet, handling a diaper, or working with raw meat, poultry, or fish. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.