Antibiotics and Your Child Antibiotics and Your Child

Antibiotics - Medicines used to treat specific bacterial infections (such as ear infections and strep throat).  Infections caused by certain viruses (such as influenza) are treated symptomatically or with medicines called antivirals.  Antibiotics are only useful to treat bacterial infections and will not provide any benefit for viral infections.   Using unnecessary medicines doesn't help and may actually cause harm. 

Common Side Effects of Antibiotic Use include:  rashes, allergic reactions, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

Using Antibiotics Safely:

  • Antibiotics aren't always the answer when your child is sick.  Ask your child's doctor what the best treatment is for your child.
  • Antibiotics work against bacterial infections.  They do not work on colds and flu.
  • Finish all prescribed doses of an antibiotic.  If your child feels better and stops the medicine too soon, the infection could return.
  • Don't use one child's antibiotic for a sibling or friend; you may give the wrong medicine and cause harm.
  • Throw away unused antibiotics.  Do not save antibiotics for later use;  some out-of-date medicines can actually be harmful.