Antibiotics have recently come under scrutiny for their overuse and eventual ineffectiveness.
But now a new issue has arisen, thanks to a study with the Centers for Disease Control: the side effects of the antibiotics putting children in the hospital.
According to the CDC, 65,000 children under the age of 19 are sent to the emergency room each year, often for side effects relating to strong antibiotics. The issue of these secondary problems is so common that it is actually the number one reason children under five are admitted to the ER.
The CDC gathered the data by combing through the medical records of over 6,000 kids. They found that many developed secondary infections from the drugs, like Candida (yeast infections), and C. difficle, which can lead to a deadly form of diarreha.
The study stated that the most common side effects were hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the mouth and throat and skin rashes. Other children were sent to the ER for less common side effects, including diarrhea, dizziness, muscle weakness, fainting spells, headaches and cramps.
Which drugs are most often the culprits of these horrible side effects? The CDC reports that the biggest complaints come from amoxicillin, azithromycin, clindamycin and penicillin.
Nowadays, many doctors agree that in the vast majority if cases, antibiotics are already totally unnecessary. Some doctors prescribe them to treat viruses without waiting for test results, making their patients vulnerable to horrific side effects and secondary infections without even treating the root cause of the original symptoms. In fact, many doctors prescribe antibiotics for a cold or flu without even waiting to see if it clears up on its own.
Generally, in the United States, antibiotics are grossly overprescribed. Parents should be aware of this and vigilant for not only the health of their children, but also for themselves.
Before accepting a prescription for antibiotics, it is important that you insist your doctor perform a test on yourself or your child to ensure it is actually necessary. For example, strep throat would require antibiotics to relieve the disease, but a doctor cannot diagnose it by sight. Instead, a culture must be taken.
If you are concerned that you or your child has an infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics, it is wise to go to the doctor and have the determination made by appropriate testing.