In this health video learn about the dangers of giving too many antibiotics to your children.
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Female Speaker: Samantha Stofsky is a lively little three-year old. When she's feeling well anyway, but for almost a year now, Samantha has suffered intermittently from the nose that wouldn't stop running. Wayne Stofsky: We've tried everything over the past year or so to keep her healthy, or to get her back to being healthy. Female Speaker: The real diagnosis chronic sinusitis. The solution, one antibiotic to clear up Samantha's runny nose another to battle ear infections and two more medications delivered through a nebulizer twice a day to help her breathe easier. Antibiotics can work very well and are often the best solution for illnesses like Samantha's, but many pediatricians worry that they're being over-used. Pediatrician Steve Berman is used to dealing with worried parents asking for antibiotics. He understands their concerns, but very often feels he must turn down their requests. Dr. Steve Berman: Antibiotics will only work when there's an active bacterial infection, but the overwhelming number of infections in children are not caused by bacteria at all. Female Speaker: Colds, for example, are caused by viruses, not bacteria. So antibiotics don't work, in fact taking antibiotics when they're not needed can do far more harm than good. Dr. Steve Berman: The more antibiotics we give her, the more likely it is that she will become colonized with a bacteria that is resistant to the normal antibiotics. Female Speaker: Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem. Resistant bacteria can thrive and spread from person to person and many common antibiotics no longer work to kill the bugs. Dr. Steve Berman: It'd be a lot safer if we had a fewer of those highly resistant bugs around. I now have fewer antibiotics that are effective, that I can use today, than I had 20, 25 years ago. Female Speaker: Parents can help their children by recognizing that antibiotics are not always the cure for what ails them particularly if the culprit is a cold. Dr. Steve Berman: My message to parents is the cold's going to get better. It's going to start to get better on the fourth or fifth day, and it's going to last about a week. Female Speaker: So how do you survive that week? Here's what Doctor Berman recommends, make your child comfortable, if there's a slight fever, try acetaminophen or ibuprofen, make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids, do not starve a cold, this is a myth, watch for signs that your child is getting sicker. Signs of trouble are continued fever and fast breathing. If that's the case, take your child to the pediatrician right away. Wayne Stofsky: We always wondering is it worse than what it appears just a runny nose or a cough? Female Speaker: In spite of their fears for their daughter, Wayne Stofsky and his wife Vickie have learned through experience that antibiotics are not always the answer. Wayne Stofsky: What you're hoping is that your child will get better when in fact, if you continue to give them the same antibiotics over and over, your child might only get sicker.