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Treatment practices

Treating children with antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is especially problematic when treating (young) children. Their immature immune system is over-burdened and various studies show that taking antibiotics can lead to all sorts of complications, both directly in the form of nausea, headaches, etc., but also later in life.

In 2003, an American study including some 400 participants showed that children who are prescribed antibiotics in the first six months of their lives are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from asthma. They are also likely to have allergies twice as often by the age of 7.

In Australia, a recent 25-month study looked at nearly 500 children aged between 2 and 4 who were treated with antibiotics for an average of 17.6 days per year. In comparison with those children who received no antibiotics during the study period, the group receiving antibiotics had double the number of resistant bacterial (pneumococci) strains and 1% of these children had pathogens resistant to all antibiotics available for children. The scientists calculated that each day of antibiotic treatment increased the probability of bacterial resistance development by 4%.

Keeping these facts in mind, antibiotic therapies should be considered only if really necessary.


Did you know?

You won’t find exact figures, but sometimes physicians prescribe antibiotics just to calm parents who ask for “real” medicine.

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