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Posted on Nov 13,2017

David Berman, M.D.

David Berman, M.D., and pharmacy clinical coordinator Katie Namtu from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital talk about the effectiveness of antibiotics as we recognize U.S. Antibiotics Awareness Week.

What is U.S. Antibiotics Awareness Week?

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital joins other hospitals across the country this week in an annual event sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate health care providers and the community about appropriate and safe use of antibiotics. Other than vaccines, antibiotics are one of the greatest achievements in medicine and if used correctly, a life-saving tool.

True or False, Up to 50 percent of antibiotics are inappropriately prescribed (TRUE)

Antibiotics should only be prescribed for bacterial infections and not the common cold which is caused by viruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Even when a bacterial infection is present, sometimes an incorrect antibiotic is prescribed, the wrong dose or duration of therapy. This may result in antibiotic resistance.  Antibiotic resistance makes it difficult for doctors to treat infections such as a urinary tract infections, lung infections (pneumonia) and blood stream infections.

True or False, Almost 67 million antibiotics were prescribed to children in 2013 (TRUE)

This was a study done by the CDC that found enough antibiotics were prescribed to give an antibiotic to eight out of 10 U.S. children. If your child is prescribed an antibiotic you need to ask your doctor why it is being prescribed, discuss side-effects, and discuss the potential for antibiotic resistance.

True or False, there are over 140,000 visits to the emergency department each year for antibiotic adverse events (TRUE)

Eighty percent of the visits are related to allergic reactions. Among children ages 5 years and younger, antibiotics were the most common drug class implicated. Antibiotics can cause other adverse events such as diarrhea (severe form related to a bacteria called Clostridium difficile) and injury to the kidney, liver and bone marrow.

This information was shared on WTVT-TV’s Doc on Call segment, which is aimed at helping parents learn more about children’s health issues. The segment airs each Monday morning on Good Day Tampa Bay.​

Learn which conditions are viral and bacterial and when antibiotics are needed. 


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