×
Book Appointment Online with select physicians.
Request Appointment Online to schedule with one of our coordinators.
1.888.IUHEALTH for
Same-Day Primary Care Appointments.
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1.

Antibiotics and childhood infections

Blog Antibiotics and childhood infections

Knowing the best way to manage childhood bacterial infections can be challenging for parents. Antibiotic stewardship initiatives resulting from concerns about widespread antibiotic resistance have changed the way many bacterial infections are treated in both children and adults. Such stewardship practices involve allowing minor bacterial infections to run their course and treating only the most serious infections with antibiotics to help these medicines maintain their effectiveness in the future.

Less than 30 years ago, children died or were severely impaired from meningitis, one of the most severe bacterial infections. Fortunately today, this disease can be easily prevented by following a routine vaccination schedule, and if necessary, treated with strong medications.

Pneumonia and bacterial urinary tract infections are conditions that require antibiotics.

Prescription antibiotics are also needed for some minor bacterial infections, such as strep throat and impetigo. If untreated, these infections may have serious consequences. In healthy children, infections like sinusitis and ear infections may go away within a few days without antibiotics. Bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye), which accounts for less than 50 percent of pink eye cases, may not require antibiotics, depending on the severity of symptoms. Allowing minor infections like these to resolve on their own strengthens the body’s immune system. It’s also important to remember that antibiotics are not effective in treating viral infections, such as the common cold, flu, cough and sore throat.


While it’s natural for parents to want to minimize their child’s discomfort and enable quick healing, it’s best to let your child’s doctor take the lead in determining if and when prescribing an antibiotic is necessary. The most important things parents can do to help keep children healthy are to instill good handwashing habits and ensure children receive recommended vaccinations. Prevention is key, and it starts at home. 

 

Dorota Szczepaniak, MD

Author of this Article

Dorota Szczepaniak, MD, specializes in pediatrics. She is a guest columnist located at Riley Physicians – Riley Outpatient Center at IU Health and can be reached by calling the office at 317.944.2801.

View More Articles By This Author

Viewing all posts in …

Other Blog Posts That May Interest You

Blog Focused on Well Child Care

Focused on Well Child Care

Everyday Wellness

Parents and pediatricians are a team that work together to make sure children grow up into...

Continue reading
Blog New Study Says More Daycares Are Denying Kids Outdoor Time

New Study Says More Daycares Are Denying Kids Outdoor Time

Family Care

Are kids in daycare spending enough time outdoors? New research reveals that most children (around...

Continue reading
Blog 4 Immunizations Questions to Ask Your Doctor

4 Immunizations Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Family Care

If you have a young child, chances are they are going to need to get vaccinations. While people of...

Continue reading

Viewing all posts in …