Michiana doctors cutting back on prescribing antibiotics - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Michiana doctors cutting back on prescribing antibiotics

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The flu season is always a trying time for parents, especially caring for your child when they do come down with a bug. Parents nowadays believe that by making a trip to the pediatrician's office, they'll ultimately walk out with an antibiotic to stop the symptoms. However, this could eventually harm your child in the future.

The Center for Disease and Prevention says children are a high concern for antibiotic resistance, because children have the highest rates of prescribed antibiotics.

Memorial Family Medicine Dr. Kenneth Elek says a high number of calls are rolling in for kids with flu like systems. Parents believe prescribing their child an antibiotic is the cure, but Dr. Elek says in reality, it only hurts.

"Antibiotics kill bacteria. And a very small percentage of upper respiratory and other things are caused by bacteria. So when we use antibiotics when it's not a bacterial infection, it can actually kill the normal bacteria that are there to protect you from things," he says.

The number of bacteria resistant to antibiotics has increased in the last decade. That's why doctors are concerned with the amount of antibiotics being prescribed to children. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says children are a great concern because they have the highest rates of antibiotic use.

Dr. Elek says, "The bacteria aren't susceptible to the antibiotic anymore. So you use the antibiotics enough, the bacteria can change themselves so the antibiotics don't kill them anymore. The best way to avoid the flu is by taking your annual flu shot, and don't forget to always wash your hands. If your child isn't acting normally or they're having diarrhea and vomiting that lasts for longer than 12 to 24 hours, that's when you might want to get them looked at."

Significant bacterial infections are becoming resistant to the most commonly prescribed antibiotic treatments. So doctors will only prescribe antibiotics when they are 100-percent certain it's a bacterial infection. The cure for his virus won't be an easy pill... instead they may have to let it run its course.   

FOX28's Faran Fronczak met with a local South Bend doctor, and has more on how to keep your children well without the use of antibiotics tonight at 10pm.

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