UNAIR NEWS – Like a signal light, a fever can be a symptom of upcoming illness. In this regard, babies and kids are most vulnerable to fever. At times like this, parents often panic. They often treat them with antibiotics when the illness was not known yet.
As fever is considered as an indication, of course the doctor cannot determine right away what illness following the fever symptom. An observation for a few days is needed to determine the cause of the fever, a virus or bacteria infection. Unfortunately, people often use antibiotics before they know what the actual cause. Substantially, antibiotics can be given only to patients with bacterial infection, not the viral infection.
People believe that antibiotics are always reliable for many illness, but they do not understand well on how to use antibiotics properly. A pediatrician of Dr. Soetomo general Hospital, Dr. Irwanto, dr., Sp.A(K) has regretted this. In his opinion, not all illnesses are treated with antibiotics.
“I always implore my patient to stay calm and wait. Needed observation lasts for two days. While waiting, we can give usual fever reducer. If after two days still no improvement, then we can start specific treatment,” he explained.
Other than to be accurate, antibiotics should not be used excessively. Antibiotics over-use will destroy good bacteria in the body. Furthermore, it also causes the undestroyed bacteria mutate and be superbugs which are resistant to antibiotics.
Bacteria which initially can be treated with light antibiotics mutate and be resistant, so stronger antibiotics are needed to handle them. If they spread, one day there will be no more antibiotics strong enough to kill these mutating bacteria. If it happens to kids then they will experience organ disorders, such as digestive disorder, kidneys disorder, liver disorder, bone marrow disorder, blood disorder and so on.
Bacterial or viral infections?
The right indication of using antibiotics for kids is if the infection was caused by bacteria. Some diseases need antibiotic treatment such as throat inflammation, urinary tract infection, typhus, TBC, and abscess or pus-filled wound in the skin and throat.
Throat infection was caused by streptococcus infection which usually attacks kids at the age of 7 or more. Kids at the age of 4 infected by these bacteria are only 15%.
Other disease which needs antibiotic treatment is urinary tract infection. To determine if there is an infection usually blood or urine culture is conducted. After a few days, we will know if there is a bacterial infection with its type of bacteria and its sensitivity to antibiotics. While flu, fever and cough are symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection which was caused by a virus so it does not need any antibiotics.
Most kids diseases which can be treated from home is caused by viruses. In other words, the possibility of antibiotics use is not big or maybe it is only needed by 10 – 15% of child patients.
Viral diseases are diseases included in self limiting diseases or diseases which will be cured by themselves in 5-7 days. Most infectious diseases such as diarrhea, cough, flu and fever are caused by virus. Generally kids will experience 2-9 times of viral respiratory diseases.
Avoid Keeping Antibiotics at Home
Irrational and excessive use of antibiotics without doctors’ prescriptions still often happens. There is also a habit of keeping antibiotic drugs at home and use them again. Other problem is the discretion of buying antibiotics freely at the pharmacy.
“The most difficult to control is the people buy antibiotics at the pharmacy easily, who can stop them? No one can,” Irwanto said.
The habit of keeping leftover antibiotic drugs should be avoided. There should be no leftovers for the antibiotics. Prescribed antibiotics should be consumed all to prevent the infection from happening with greater destructive potential than the previous one.
Other important thing is never give your antibiotics to friends, family, or pets, because everyone has different immunity and response to antibiotics. Antibiotics should be consumed as prescribed. Doctors will explain when and how many times it should be consumed because it is related to the bacterial growth. If the use is not timely wise, the bacteria will survive and cause another infections.
Pay attention also to your meal time. Some antibiotics are forbidden to consume with certain food, and some other have to be consumed when the bowel is empty, such as amoxicillin which should be consumed one or two hours before meal time. (*)