Antibiotic resistance is a serious issue impacting us here in Australia, as well as elsewhere around the world.
All of us have a part to play in reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics and we hope that you can be part of the solution.
We also understand how hard it is when you have a sick child and you are told antibiotics won’t work. Below we try to debunk this for you and provide some helpful tips.
Did you know?
- Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the world. We’re ranked 8th among 29 countries evaluated by the OECD.
- Regular hand washing (using soap and running water) keeps your hands clean and can help stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- Using antibiotics when they are not needed can make the bacteria resistant so that the antibiotic is no longer effective.
- Some bacteria have already become resistant to almost all antibiotics available.
Most parents will have experienced this; your child is sick with a cold, a cough, a sore ear and possibly a sore throat. You see the doctor and they decide not to prescribe antibiotics as the cause is probably a virus, or the doctor believes it will go away without antibiotics….
BUT what should you do next…
- Make sure your child gets plenty of REST, that goes for us older ones when we are sick too!
- Ensure their environment is smoke free.
- Encourage them to drink plenty of fluids, water or milk for the younger ones. This helps loosen phlegm and lubricates the throat and will reduce the chance of them becoming dehydrated.
Use paracetamol and/or ibuprofen to manage headaches, fever or pain. For most children symptoms resolve without any treatment.
BUT how long will it take…
- In 3 days; 6 out of 10 children will no longer have a sore throat.
- In 7 days; 9 out of 10 children will no longer have a ear ache.
- In 15 days; 9 out of 10 children will no longer have a cold.
- In 25 days; 9 out of 10 children will no longer have a cough.
If your child displays any of the following please call us for an appointment, we will always do our best to see sick children!
If you feel it is an emergency, skip calling us and call an ambulance on 000.
- Drowsiness, difficulty breathing, cold or discoloured hands or feet, unusual skin colour, pale or blue around the lips, a high fever, dehydration (dry mouth or reduced urine), severe difficulty swallowing.
Signs of Meningitis: severe headache/ stiff neck/ dislike of bright lights/ rash which does not go away when pushed. If you are really worried about this head straight to the hospital!
What can you do to reduce antibiotic resistance?
- Take the complete the course of antibiotics. Even if you are feeling better, make sure you finish taking your course, this will reduce the chance of some bacteria surviving and becoming resistant. If in doubt please check in with your GP.
- Don’t share your antibiotics with others. Antibiotics are targeted to particular bacteria depending on the infection so it might not work but can give the bacteria a chance to develop some resistance.
- Don’t take leftovers antibiotics at a later stage. What you have left may not be enough to treat a new infection or may be the wrong medication all together!