Antibiotics should be avoided for common diseases among children unless it is specifically indicated, advised a physician from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) as more children suffer from upper respiratory diseases during winter season.
“Antibiotics are not necessary to treat children suffering from respiratory diseases such as flu, cold or fever. Irrespective of the use of antibiotic, the disease will be cured by itself over time,” said, Dr Shihab M Ameen al-Barazanji, consultant, Paediatric Emergency and assistant professor, Clinical Paediatrics, Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar.
According to the physician, upper respiratory tract diseases are the most common ones among children in winter while gastroenteritis is common during summer.
“HMC is working on a programme named antibiotic stewardship about the use of antibiotic. We aim to educate the public about antibiotics and how it should be avoided in many cases. Many people still feel treatment is incomplete without antibiotic. Antibiotics should not be given unless it is specifically indicated,” explained Dr al-Barazanji.
“There is now better understanding among people about the use of antibiotics. Patient safety is the most important factor for us. We always update with new practices and follow international guidelines. We are now at par with developed countries in most health parameters,” he highlighted.
The physician pointed out that preventive measures should be adopted to avoid these diseases and stressed personal hygiene is the best way to keep the diseases away.
“Personal hygiene, especially hand hygiene, is very essential to keep these diseases away. Respiratory disease are resulted through viral infection, transmitted through air and children should keep washing their hands before eating food and after using the wash room and on other occasions. Through hygiene, many of these diseases can be avoided. During winter season, cold food and drinks and the use of air-conditioners can be avoided,” noted Dr al-Barazanji.
“Certain mild medications such as nasal drops for congestion, medicine for fever, cough syrup depending on age as children below six are not given cough syrup, can be used for treating these diseases. Keep the children hydrated with fluids and keep them covered with proper clothes during the season. Influenza vaccine is another preventive measure and is very effective in general for school children,” suggested the physician.
Gastroenteritis which is also a viral infection, is another major disease among children resulting in vomiting, loose motion among other symptoms.
“Keep the children hydrated always and avoid oily and very sweet food items. There is no need for antibiotic for this diseases too. Provide a lot of ORS (oral rehydration solutions) to the affected. Fast food also should be avoided to the maximum,” said the physician.
“Fast food has a lot of side effects as it can lead to lot of complications such as obesity, overweight and can lead to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes,” cautioned the doctor.