Viruses cause 90% of childhood infections and do not need antibiotics

Pediatricians warn that antibiotics they are medicines that are used to treat infections caused by bacteria and that are not effective against viruses or other microorganisms. The risk of misuse and abuse of antibiotics is favoring the development of resistance to antibiotics by microorganisms, so that tomorrow will not cure.

The Committee of Medicines of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) wants to draw attention to the misuse that could be made of these drugs in the field of pediatrics. "There is no doubt that a high percentage of prescribed antibiotics are not necessary," said Dr. Roi Piñeiro Pérez, a member of the Committee. "More than 90% of the infections that children have during the first 2-3 years of life are viral, and therefore nor they need antibiotics; however, it is rare to find a Spanish child under 3 years of age who has not received 2 or 3 antibiotic cycles, at least, throughout his / her short life ".

Pressure from parents to request an antibiotic

"Antibiotics are not analgesic and can not alleviate headache, throat pain, cure a cold or remove fever. winter infectionss that affect the nose, ears, throat or lungs is produced by virus, so administer antibiotics to the child is not, in any case, to alleviate this symptomatology, "says Dr. Piñeiro while recalling that, sometimes, there is pressure from the family that requires a certain antibiotic to cure the catarrh of his son.

"The symptoms of colds can be alleviated with other medications, such as analgesics that reduce discomfort or pain.In the case of influenza, the only way to prevent its onset and symptoms is through vaccination," he adds.

Wait before prescribing an antibiotic

On the other hand, this expert emphasizes that the diseases are evolutive and recommends waiting for a prudential time that allows observing the evolution of the pathologies and having a diagnosis, before administering an antibiotic. "Faced with a feverish syndrome of less than 6 hours of evolution, with good general condition and normal physical examination, the indicated thing is to wait, most winter diseases improve after two weeks."

Taking into account these general indications, remember that infants under 3 months with fever should always be reviewed by a pediatrician, "because the risk of serious bacterial infection is greater," he says.

"From there, and especially after 2 years in well-vaccinated children, the general state is much more important than the fever itself, if the child responds well to antipyretics, is happy, plays, runs, eats acceptable form, laugh and / or fight with the pediatrician in the consultation, it is very likely that he does not have a bacterial infection, "explains the doctor.

Finally, pediatricians insist that "only when there is suspicion of bacterial infection can antibiotics be prescribed and parents should never self-medicate with an antibiotic without consulting the pediatrician." It is also important that "be taken in the doses, guidelines and during the time recommended by the pediatrician, without suspending the antibiotics even if the symptoms of the disease disappear, except by medical indication".

Pediatricians appeal to the responsibility of parents, who "must trust their pediatrician, only reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics will protect us from infections by multiresistant bacteria, each antibiotic that we save is a new therapeutic option for the future," he says. the doctor.

Antibiotics that have stopped being effective

There are some antibiotics, such as penicillin, which are only effective in some diseases. "When they do not serve to cure any infection, it will be as if they had been extinguished, because it will not make sense to manufacture it," cautions Dr. Piñeiro.

"The rate of development of new resistances by bacteria is greater than the appearance of new antibiotics, so if we do not reverse this trend, there is a potential risk of returning to the preantibiotic era, and the arrival of infections against the In fact, there are already some infectious diseases in front of which there is no cure, such as some extremely resistant tuberculosis, "says this doctor. Not in vain, resistance to antibiotics is classified as a "global risk" in the annual report of the World Economic Forum.

Marisol Nuevo Espín
Advice: Doctor Roi Piñeiro Pérez, member of the Committee of Medicines of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP)

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