According to statistics, ARI is still leading in our list of reasons for prescribing antibiotics, although in the medical formulary, which specifies the scheme of the doctor’s actions, not a word is said about it. Respiratory diseases are followed by rhinitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, and otitis.
And if you remember that the cause of their appearance almost always become viruses, on which antibiotics have no effect, then the meaning of these assignments is completely lost.
What is going on? The problem is that several decades ago, infectious diseases, such as otitis, often caused serious complications: mastoiditis (inflammation of the skull bone), phlegmon (abscess in the ear) and meningitis (inflammation of the meninges), and sore throats lead to acute articular rheumatism.
This is how the tradition to prescribe antibiotics, which had become strong by the end of the 20th century, appeared, in order to prevent any complications. Now, when, according to statistics, the danger of their appearance has become much less, and doctors and parents will have to go back.
What happens in the body of babies when we try to influence viruses with antibiotics? As already mentioned, the drugs in this group are powerless to stop their reproduction, and therefore, to alleviate the condition of the child.
The fact is that they can act only against whole microorganisms, that is, bacteria, both harmful and useful, for example, those that inhabit our intestines. Viruses do not belong to the category of cellular creatures, besides they live and multiply “in shelter” – inside human cells. That is why a course of antibiotics, assigned out of place, if it has an effect, is accidental – suddenly a bacterium became the cause of the disease, which is extremely rare in the case of ARD.
In addition, let’s not forget that such treatment will cause a violation of the intestinal microflora – dysbacteriosis. And again: if you resort to using antibiotics too often, the disease causing bacteria will get used to some type of drugs and stop responding to it. Over the past decades, more than one generation of “invincible” bacteria has emerged, which produce microorganisms that are equally insensitive to antibiotics.
For example, a third of modern pneumococci and hemophilic sticks (they cause pneumonia – pneumonia, bronchitis, and so on) are immune to their recent worst enemy – penicillin.
To choose the right antibiotic against the causative agent of the disease, you need to pass on the analysis, depending on each case, sputum, blood, pus or urine of the baby. The specialist will select from them the “instigator of the unrest”, place him in a special environment and determine how different antibiotics will act on him.
But in most cases, the doctor prescribes a medicine based on the symptoms of the disease, which can tell a lot about the nature of the infection and the microbes that caused it.
So how should babies be treated for viral infections: acute respiratory infections, rhinitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, bronchitis and otitis? To begin with, from birth to 6 years of age, an infrequently ill child has episodes of acute respiratory infections up to 25 times, that is, 3-5 per year.
This is normal, because this is how a baby’s protective system is trained – it must develop its own immunity to all major infections. That is why if a child begins to cough, runny nose, fever, but he feels rather well (he plays with pleasure and eats well), his body must be given a chance to cope with the onslaught of viruses on his own, without the help of medicines.
All you can do in these early days is to alleviate the child’s condition: for example, if he is worried about a cold or cough, put drops on it, give a mixture. There are a few more useful tips: flush your nose with saline (to stop viruses from building up on the mucous membrane), teach your child to blow your nose correctly – take turns on each nostril (otherwise microbes will get clogged in the sinuses), air the rooms where the baby is, and moisten the air (then concentration). viruses in it will be less).
But if on the 3-4th day the baby becomes whiny, stops to sleep and eat normally, the temperature will remain at the same level, and the discharge from the nose will become thick and yellowish, then it is impossible to do without the help of antibiotics! After all, these signs mean that during this critical period, when the body forces are running out, a bacterial infection has joined the viral infection.
Do I have to say that only a doctor can prescribe a suitable drug and explain how many days it should be taken?
However, expectant tactics are not quite suitable for children under 1.5 years old, because their immune system does not work as well as older children, and may not cope with a viral-bacterial attack. Therefore, at the first signs of deterioration in very young ones, a doctor should be called.
Do not worry if, fearing possible problems, he will prescribe a child a course of treatment with antibiotics, because, as you already understood, these drugs are needed just to prevent complications of acute respiratory infections.
In order for the baby to be sick as little as possible, which means that he needed less help with medications, including antibiotics, try to create a support program for him. Here you can not do without the help of a pediatrician, who will help to find weaknesses in the child’s body and tell you how to strengthen them.
Perhaps he will advise you to do hardening and among the many techniques will help find the one that suits your kid. Or, the doctor will recommend contacting an ENT specialist to decide whether the adenoids should be removed from the baby, which sometimes turn from a protective barrier into a real “hotbed” of infection.
And for those who are thinking of giving the child to kindergarten, he will offer to first observe whether the child is ready for a collision with a multitude of microorganisms that are found in any team.
If the child is still sick and the doctor had to prescribe a course of treatment with antibiotics, carefully follow his recommendations, because the success of the treatment depends on how accurately you measure the dose of the medicine, whether you are watching the time you need to take it.
In 1929, English physician Alexander Fleming discovered that Penicillium mold stops the growth of bacteria. He called this amazing substance penicillin. But the industrial production of drugs based on it began much later: the Americans started producing antibiotics in 1943, and we immediately after the war.
Penicillin was the first of many drugs belonging to a large family of antibiotics.
Today, antibiotics produce not only special microorganisms – fungi, scientists have learned how to create them from different chemicals or grow from cells. These drugs help to cope with bacteria and some parasites: they stop their development or simply kill. In the first case, antibiotics allow the body’s immune system to stop the invasion on its own, and in the second, they destroy bacteria, replacing the possible lack of defenses.
Against viruses, these drugs, alas, are powerless!
Each of the families of antibiotics has its own tactics of attack: the drug accumulates in different tissues (bones, kidneys, mucous membranes) and attacks certain microorganisms. For example, members of the penicillin clan have a narrow specialization, and tetracyclines are much broader and able to cope with many types of harmful microbes.
To find out how parents treat their child “for a cold”, what they know about antibiotics and what they expect from the doctor during the consultation, the French magazine PARENTS conducted a survey among its readers. Questions were answered by 1,150 people from France, Switzerland, Belgium and Holland. 77% of respondents had babies aged from 3 months to 3 years.
The parents’ answers were analyzed by a group of doctors, and this is what came out of it.
- 84% of parents give children medication without a prescription on average 29 hours after the onset of acute respiratory infections. It is mainly about antipyretics, nasal drops and cough medicine.
- 30% of mothers resort to antibiotics during a runny nose immediately following a rise in temperature.
- 33% of respondents know that antibiotics act on bacteria.
- 20% think they can cope with a viral infection.
- 5% of parents insist that the doctor should prescribe antibiotics to the child, and are even ready to turn to another specialist to get their way.