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Have you taken your child who is down with flu to the clinic before? Just like most parents, I’m sure we have our fair share. Ever tempted to ask the attending doctor whether there will be antibiotics given? Tempted, right? And it’s a very common scenario across all countries. But, why do you think antibiotics are good for your child?
Like it’s some wonder drug that it would get your kid to recover quickly. Are antibiotics and child growth related?
In case you are wondering why you’re involved and it’s the doctor’s job to give antibiotics in the first place, hear me out. Yes, true that doctor ultimately holds the decision. However, in the modern day society, doctors have been pressurized to do so. We technically “demand” what we deem or think is good for ourselves, and in this case, our children. Therefore, a doctor’s decision may sometimes be swayed by your influence. That’s why in this matter, be careful with what you ask for.
OK. So what’s the side effects?
If you don’t mind your child being on the chubby side, then you can skip this part. But no right minded parent would want their child to be fat. These quotes are from research papers. If you want to read through them, the link’s at the reference section.
“Repeated exposure to broad-spectrum antibiotics at ages 0 to 23 months is associated with early childhood obesity.“
“Because common childhood infections were the most frequent diagnoses co-occurring with a broad-spectrum antibiotic prescription, narrowing antibiotic selection is potentially a modifiable risk factor for childhood obesity.“
“Because obesity is a multifactorial condition, reducing prevalence depends on identifying and managing multiple risk factors whose individual effects may be small but modifiable.“
That being said, it depends on the choice of antibiotics used for your child too. Broad-spectrum means an antibiotic that is powerful enough to kill even the strongest bug. This includes the good ones in your child’s body too, especially the intestines. Although the level of “fattiness” can be caused by a lot of other reasons, antibiotics can be a culprit. So if an antibiotic is not needed, don’t go ask for one.
“Children treated with an antibiotic in the first 3 years of life are more likely to develop asthma, but there is no evidence that the exposure to an antibiotic is associated with increased risk of asthma exacerbations.“
To take antibiotics also there’s a risk of getting asthma. That’s the cold hard truth. Proven through research and not through my words, can’t deny it. Apparently, it’s got something to do with the normal and good bacteria that stays in the gut. Using antibiotics in early life unnecessarily kills them. By killing them off, the ecosystem in the gut is changed indirectly affecting the child’s immunity as well. Regardless of whether there is a direct relationship or not, the statistics of excessive usage of antibiotics and the risk of getting asthma don’t lie.
So, just be wary of it. Especially true for children less than 3 years of age.
What? Depression? To be honest, I feel this kind of far-fetched so take it with a pinch of salt. This could be caused by a lot of other factors too.
“Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel found treatment with just one course of antibiotics increases your risk of developing depression and anxiety.“
Nonetheless, it’s good to know about it since it’s part of the game.
This is one of the more obvious risks involved. I’m sure you’ve heard of it too. If your child keeps taking antibiotics, there is a risk that the same antibiotic may not work in the future. The bug may have grown stronger and it’s not easy to be killed. Just so you know, there’s a limit to the types of antibiotics available.
Once you’ve used everything, what else is available? How? How? Always remember, taking antibiotics do not hasten the recovery process. A majority of illnesses are caused by viruses instead of bacteria. It’s the same analogy as using diesel in a petrol tank. Way off point!
This is another important point to note. Antibiotics, at the end of the day, is still a drug. An all drugs have some side effects. If it’s the milder ones, like some itchy rash after consuming the antibiotic is fine. But, what happens if it’s an extensive allergy? A full blown allergy in which a child develops difficulty in breathing due to the tightening of the airways and the skin starts to burn? No parents would ever want that to happen. Never.
I believe antibiotics should only be used in situations where antibiotics are really needed. Not to satisfy you. Not to satisfy the treating doctor nor everyone else. More importantly, it is meant to treat your child and kill a bug. Most illnesses like the common flu are caused by viruses really does not need any antibiotics. Really. If there are no bacteria to be killed, then keep it for days when your child really needs it.
In collaboration with Ethissa.
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