Doctors urged to cut back antibiotic use in children

New recommendations urge doctors to check for symptoms of bacterial infections

Pediatricians should prescribe antibiotics sparingly for certain common ailments and only when children display certain symptoms caused by bacteria and not by a virus, according to new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Another study finds doctors overprescribe antibiotics

Research has shown that many children and adults tend to be prescribed antibiotics when they have coughs, colds or ear infections caused by viruses. However, the use of such drugs to treat viral infections can raise the risk of antibiotic resistance. About two million U.S. residents annually become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and as many as 23,000 die from them, according to CDC data.

The panel, which outlined its research in the journal Pediatrics this week, recommended that antibiotics for common ailments such as runny noses be used only when symptoms are severe, have lingered for several days, or have gotten worse.

For ear infections, the panel recommended antibiotic use only if a child is experiencing severe pain and infection in both ears (Pittman, Reuters, 11/18).

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