Todays’ article is about antibiotics and some worries about them. Before we cover the topic, let’s first understand: what are antibiotics?
Antibiotics are the substances that repeatedly suppress the growth, development and reproduction of bacteria. They are used to treat and prevent infectious diseases caused by bacterium.
Now let’s think whether it’s worth using antibiotics to prevent respiratory diseases.
The human body, form the very early childhood, is the container of a huge number of bacteria that inhabit a variety of body’s sites. In the twentieth century, people have learned to kill bacteria and that they liked that so much that it is almost impossible to meet a person who has never tried to kill any microbe in his body. However, it must be remember that antibacterials don’t affect viruses. And the vast majority of childhood diseases are connected with viruses – primarily colds, respiratory diseases, not to mention the measles, chicken pox and rubella.
But everyone knows that the common cold is dangerous for it can cause complications, and in order to avoid colds many people, having sneezed once, often swallow Biseptolum, ampicillin, tetracycline and so on.
You should know, dear moms and dads, that there lot of different bacteria in your mouth as well as in your child’s mouth. These bacteria have got used to each other, divided the spheres of influence and exist peacefully. There is no antibiotic able to kill all of them. Now let’s think: will it be easier to multiply for those microbes that have survived, if their natural competitors died? Of course, it will be easier for them to multiply. And hence, the probability that they would cause a disease will be increased. It turns out that treatment of acute respiratory infections with antibiotics increases the incidence of pneumonia almost 4 times. You should remember:
– any antibiotic must be prescribed only by a physician;
– an antibiotic must be used only when a bacterial infection has already appeared, but not to prevent it;
– if you have to give your child antibiotics, do not stop the treatment immediately after he feels a bit better. Only your doctor knows which antibiotic must be used and how long;
– never ask for a stronger antibiotic;
– the main fact about antibiotic treatment is to make it unnecessary for the child.
Duration of antibiotic treatment
Many moms wonder how long the antibiotic treatment should be for different doctors give different recommendations. Pediatricians recommend treating pneumonia for 5 days, and when urinalysis is bad – for 3 weeks.
The fact is that all bacterial infections (and the very bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics) tend to recur, i.e. if not all bacteria are killed, the disease will possibly recur. It will recur because of the microbes that have survived after antibiotic treatment. Certain duration of antibiotic therapy is appointed to minimize the risk of disease recurrence. It turns out that the risk of pneumonia recurrence is low and 5 days of treatment are enough if the child has a normal body temperature and effect of the antibiotic is high. But infections of ears or urinary tract tend to recur, and such treatment takes much longer time.
In any case, you should know that there are bactericidal antibiotics (they kill bacteria), and antibiotic therapy takes usually less time than that with bacteriostatic antibiotics (they don’t not kill the germs but inhibit their growth). Treatment with bacteriostatic antibiotics takes usually at least 7-8 days. In any case you should remember that the doctor must determine the duration of treatment.
How a physician chooses antibiotics
Let’s now lift the veil of secrecy how a physician chooses antibiotics. Why does the doctor prescribe a certain antibiotic to treat a disease for the first time, and then another antibiotic to treat the same disease the next time, although everything was fine for the first time and the antibiotic has helped?
Let’s take purulent otitis media as an example that must be treated with antibiotics. Many studies aim to find out what bacteria cause otitis media with the highest possible probability in a strictly specific age. Since otitis media in children, in babies, and in the old people is caused by different bacteria depending on the person’s age and the site of abscess, medicine uses such a term as antibiotic of choice. I.e. when a child has a particular disease in a particular age, there is an antibiotic that is primarily recommended by medical science and is called “antibiotic of choice”.
The doctor’s task (and he is taught this) is to chooses a particular antibiotic to treat a particular disease. If such an antibiotic shouldn’t be used (because there are contraindications or it was used recently used, or it causes allergy), then smart medical books earnestly recommend to use second-choice antibiotics which are used when the first-choice antibiotics can’t be used.
Antibiotic treatment isn’t actually an art but basic knowledge of medical science. That’s why a real modern physician should read the novelties of medical literature. And if you’re lucky enough to meet just such a doctor, antibiotic treatment will be conscious and competent.
How to strengthen child’s immunity after antibiotic treatment
Let’s start with the fact that the immune system weakens not because of antibiotics but because of illness we had to treat with antibiotics. The main thing is to understand that the degree of immunity weakening after antibiotic treatment depends on the overall health condition of the body. Nevertheless the body is afraid of new diseases – it hasn’t fully recovered. The usage of antibiotics and the disease itself change the concentration of bacteria and relationship between them in the human body and new germs can find their place in the body. The main thing for rebuilding the immune system after antibiotics is to prevent the body from catching a new disease.
There are two ways to rebuild immune system:
– minimize your child’s contact with the environment after illness – don’t take your child when you go shopping if he has just recovered; it is possible to postpone going to the circus for a couple of months;
– provide the normal way of life: don’t force the child to eat, perform together physical exercises, minimize emotional traumas, walk a lot, the child must not overheat because sweating causes colds, etc.
So don’t think of your child as of a weak and miserable one, but provide minimum contact with other people, food of high quality, absence of dirt and dust.
And one thing I want to add about antibiotics is that they affect negatively our internal organs – kidneys, liver, intestines, etc. So you should think of ways to protect them in your child and if it is impossible to treat the child without antibiotics, consult different doctors, independent from each other, and choose the best option for YOU.