Pediatric Specialists of Plano

When do kids need antibiotics?

When do kids need antibiotics?Parents often expect our Plano pediatricians to prescribe antibiotics for their sick children, but these medications are not always the right solution. So, when do kids need antibiotics? Antibiotics are only effective for treating bacterial infections. They don’t help with viral infections at all; in fact, they may do more harm than good.

Children with colds, flu and other viral infections do not need antibiotics

“But, my child has yellow and green mucus. Why don’t you prescribe antibiotics?” Our pediatricians often hear variations of this question because many parents believe that antibiotics are the only way to “cure” a cold, flu or sore throat. The fact is that colds, flu and Covid-19 are all caused by viruses, so antibiotics are not the proper treatment. Antibiotic use will not change the symptoms of a viral infection.

Kids with middle ear infections or sinus infections may need antibiotics

Middle ear infections, sinus infections and sore throats may or may not require antibiotic treatment, depending on whether they are caused by a virus or bacteria. Here are some of the things our pediatricians consider.

  • Viruses often cause middle ear infections, so our pediatricians recommend steps to comfort the child and relieve pain, knowing that the infection will go away without antibiotics. Our pediatricians may prescribe antibiotics if a child comes to our office with severe ear pain, infection in both eardrums, or a higher fever.
  • Most of the time, viruses cause sore throats. If our team suspects strep throat, we test the child and prescribe antibiotics for positive tests.
  • When a child has yellow or green mucus, many parents assume it’s a severe sinus infection that requires antibiotics, but often, it’s a viral infection.

Our physicians may prescribe antibiotics if:

  • The child’s symptoms last longer than 10 days
  • He or she has facial pain accompanied by fever
  • He or she has a fever that is higher than 102℉, for a minimum of three to four days

When do kids need antibiotics? When they have bacterial infections

Some conditions do require antibiotics.

  • Strep throat
  • Whooping cough
  • Pneumonia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Skin abscesses
  • Impetigo
  • Infections in the bloodstream
  • Some middle ear and sinus infections

Bacterial infections always require antibiotic treatment.

Our Plano pediatricians do not prescribe unnecessary antibiotics

Our experienced physicians strive to keep kids safe and make them better. Overprescribing antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics also can have adverse side effects and cause allergic reactions or diarrhea.

When do kids need antibiotics? That’s a question best left to our highly trained Plano pediatricians. Contact us for an appointment.

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(972) 473-7777

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Pediatric Specialists of Plano
3405 Midway Road, Suite 650
Plano, TX 75093

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