The term “antibiotic” generally refers to a type of medicine which is effective against bacteria. Examples of antibiotics are penicillin, amoxicillin and erythromycin. These medicines are among the great discoveries of modern science and have reduced childhood mortality almost to zero where they are available.
Still, we need to be careful about how we use them. Antibiotics always carry risks of side-effects or allergic reactions, which are particularly upsetting if there wasn’t a good reason to be taking them in the first place.
Also, as you may know, the overuse of antibiotics is creating a lot of other problems for patients, including difficulties treating certain infections when antibiotics really are needed. That happens when illness-causing bacteria mutate and proliferate in drug-resistant strains. In other words, antibiotics are terrific when needed but should be avoided when not needed. That’s the purpose of coming in and being seen – so that decision can be made on a more informed basis.
If I do order a prescription for your child, please read the instructions on the prescription and follow them. Generally speaking, if there was a good reason to start the antibiotic, there’s a good reason to finish it as prescribed.