More and more medical societies are warning of the misuse or overuse of antibiotics. The problem: resistance and decreased effectiveness of these drugs against infections.
- The figure for prescription of antibiotics to babies in Spain is only surpassed by South Korea.
- The misuse of antibiotics is generating bacteria resistant to almost all known drugs.
- We must be aware that most infections are caused by viruses and that, in these cases, antibiotics do not cure, but only cause more problems.
A recent international study places Spaniards in the spotlight: our babies receive 46% more antibiotics than in the US, 49% more than in Germany and 244% more than in Norway. Our prescription figures are second only to South Korea. And that the rates of bacterial infections in infants are similar in all countries of the world. Therefore, the conclusion is simple: the differences are due to an inadequate prescription of antibiotics.
We are facing one of the most serious problems in public health. The misuse of antibiotics is generating bacteria resistant to almost all known drugs. It is predicted that, in a few decades, if we continue at this rate, we will not have effective antibiotics to combat infections. The abuse of antibiotics in children is also related to an increased risk of obesity, inflammatory bowel diseases and atopic diseases, such as dermatitis or asthma.
Pediatricians must do a double job: prescribe well and educate the population. Society and parents must be made aware that most infections are caused by viruses and that, in these cases, antibiotics do not cure, but only cause more problems. Parents cannot demand the prescription of an antibiotic, but must ask themselves why the doctor wants to give one to their child and clarify any doubts they may have.
In addition, self- medication should be avoided : antibiotics should only be taken under medical prescription. On the other hand, pediatricians should not routinely prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics (very powerful), but reserve them for the most serious cases or for those infections in which traditional treatment does not work.