Moms are so ingenious! I learn new things from parents everyday and the saying inventions are the mother of necessity rings true again.
As I have been discussing in earlier posts, RSV has really been rampant these last few weeks, causing many babies to wheeze and a few of my patients had severe enough symptoms to require hospitalization.
A sweet 6 month old patient of mine was recently admitted to the hospital for a few days due to respiratory distress, and subsequently developed an ear infection (which is not uncommon) and was discharged on an oral antibiotic. Oh, did I mention that while the baby was in the hospital, the 2 year old sibling started to cough and wheeze as well and he was at home getting breathing treatments. When it rains, it pours!
Now that this family is on the mend, I had them return to the office for a post-hospitalization follow up and the mother said she had been a bit overwhelmed for the last few days. Poor thing! She said she was worried that she might mix up medication doses between the two children.
She then pulled out the box that contained the medicine for the 6 month old and showed me how she had drawn a calendar on the side of the box, with a square for each dose of medicine to mark off as she gave the dose. That way she was sure that she had given the medicine. It was like cross-checking medicines in the hospital to prevent dosing errors. How clever is that! No big chart, nothing fancy, but very practical.
She had brought along the medicine for her visit so I could see how well the baby was taking the medicine (which was not one of the better tasting liquids) and she had the perfect technique for administering the medicine as well.
So, this picture shows you how clever the bottle/box dosing calendar is. Of course she is a teacher, and I bet a good one!!
Today kicks off Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, which was developed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to educate everyone about the overuse of antibiotics.
Antibiotic prescribing is highest for young children. But, antibiotics need to be used appropriately in order to ensure that drugs are effective, as well as to prevent antibiotic resistance. The whole country is just entering the cough and cold season and most of these illnesses are caused by viruses. ANTIBIOTICS can only cure bacterial illnesses - not viral illnesses.
Taking an antibiotic for a viral illness will NOT cure your child's cough and cold, nor will it help your child feel better any faster, and it will NOT keep others from catching your child's viral illness. These viral illnesses include colds, influenza (flu), RSV, most sore throats (unless strep) and even most sinus infections. Not even all ear infections may need an antibiotic to resolve, especially in children over the age of 2-3 years.
Although many people believe that green mucous means a bacterial infection, as your body's immune system works to fight off a viral upper respiratory infection mucous can change color. It is quite common for the color to change from clear, to yellow to green before the viral infection resolves. This does not mean that a child (or adult) needs an antibiotic.
Lastly, while antibiotics may be life saving, there are potential complications that can occur when taking an antibiotic, including tummy aches and diarrhea as well as serious allergic reactions. You want to only take antibiotics when really needed.
I have spent the last 2 weekends on call and already feel like I have seen a million green runny noses, including my own!! But a little saline nose rinse, lots of kleenex, some steamy showers and time will work for the majority of us. Almost every parent asks me don't you have something else t