Using antibiotics too often with kids may be a much bigger problem than any ear infection. Pediatricians are taking that to heart, and as a result, a lot of parents are taking kids to the doctor and leaving without a prescription these days -- that's a good thing according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"We found that the number of antibiotics prescribed to children seen in physician offices in the United States for respiratory infections decreased from 37 million in 1989 to 23 million in 2000. This could be because parents are not bringing their child in to see the doctor if they know the doctor won't prescribe an antibiotic for a viral respiratory illness. It could also mean that clinicians are not treating certain conditions with antibiotics that they did in the past, such as fluid behind the eardrum," says Linda McCraig at the National Center for Health Stats.
In the JAMA report, McCraig reminds parents not to feel slighted if your doctor turns you away without antibiotics because antibiotics will do nothing for a virus anyway. They only work against bacterial infections and researchers are hopeful that fewer prescriptions will help prevent the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, particularly in kids who may have been prescribed them too often in the past.