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Why Abhor the Antibiotic?


“Half knowledge makes issues of non-issues and the converse that is more dangerous”

I write this on behalf of the paediatric or rather medical fraternity because I feel compelled to reason about one frequent accusation made at us. We are often derided and boycotted for prescribing antibiotics. I think the issue is primarily a campaign of ignorance fired by apprehension. In order to analyse the scenario objectively I think it’s important that we learn some of the facts.

First of all we need to remember that antibiotics are substances which were initially derived from certain fungi, bacteria, and other organisms, that can destroy or inhibit the growth of other microorganisms predominantly bacteria. Though they are synthetically manufactured now they are still not hazardous chemicals or radiation that can have a permanent effect on the body. The only life threatening event that can happen is an allergic reaction but that rule holds for any medicine and is not specific to antibiotics.

I agree with the popular opinion that antibiotics are unnecessary in many cases. Most colds and diarrhoeal episodes are caused by viruses and therefore antibiotics being drugs used against bacteria and some related microorganisms do not have additional benefit. These infections are usually mild and self-limiting. But viral infections could lead to situations where the body’s immunity can be compromised making it vulnerable to a harsh attack by multiple pathogens. If the doctor senses such a possibility then he or she will prescribe an antibiotic. I would suggest spending time discussing and learning the nature of the illness and properties of the prescribed drug with your doctor and not blindly refusing it.

Parents need not worry about giving a child an antibiotic,it will do it’s work just like it does in an adult.But dosing should be precise(so please don’t give them half or quarter of the adult dose inadvertently) and the side effects will a little more difficult to endure because children are more sensitive to discomfort.Antibiotics do not lower immunity,only taking them wrong gives rise to superbugs that will be a big challenge to the body’s resistance. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are considering putting your child on a course of antibiotics:

Sometimes antibiotics combined with medications without informing the treating doctor. Every doctor has enough to update and research in his own chosen field and cannot authentically opine on remedies from alternative streams he doesn’t practice. So think twice before combining medications as drugs modify each other’s metabolism. In the era of complimentary healthcare we are happy to see improvement irrespective of the source but urge you to try remedies backed up with evidence of effectiveness and long term safety on human subjects and not just immediate relief of symptoms.

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Dr. Krishna Mahathi holds diplomas in Pediatrics and in the management of allergies and asthma. Years of working and interacting with children and parents have given her insight into developmental disabilities. She wishes that there was more awareness and acceptance of the issues that differently-abled children face and hopes that through this blog, she can enable thse children and their families to make sensible and informed choices.


2 thoughts on “Why Abhor the Antibiotic?

  1. meera

    Dear Dr Krishna, an enlightening need — there is always a debate when my daughter falls sick and this will really help us to take the right decision

    Reply

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