It is inevitable that at some point your child will need antibiotics, whether it be for an ear infection, strep throat, or a bad cut that looks red and is painful. Antibiotics are reserved for bacterial infections which means they don’t treat viruses that cause those annoying runny noses with a cough from post-nasal drip that may last a while. Viruses go away on their own. When your child is prescribed an antibiotic this is what you need to know about using them properly.
- Follow the directions given by your doctor
Always give the correct amount prescribed. The amount prescribed was calculated for your child based on her weight. Pediatricians always dose based on weight to ensure your kids get the correct therapeutic amount without overdosing. Once your child gets older, they may reach the maximum weight for dosing it this way and move on to adult standard dosing.
- Always give the antibiotic the correct number of times per day.
If the pediatrician writes to administer the antibiotic three times a day, it must be given three times a day. This is to maintain the therapeutic level in their bloodstream to properly get rid of the bacteria causing the infection you are treating.
- Always complete the course of antibiotics.
If your pediatrician says to take the antibiotic for 10 full days, you should not stop prior to that 10 days. Your child may feel better after 2 days or 5 days, but it is still very important to continue for the full 10 days. Despite feeling better, that bacteria is not fully out of your child’s system and without the antibiotics they can continue to multiply. This may mean that a future infection with that same bacteria can build up a resistance to the antibiotic of choice. In addition, complications of the current infection may occur.
- Never take someone else’s antibiotics or leftovers.
They may be expired, the wrong dose, the wrong type of treatment, and just simply dangerous to be given without guidance.