16
Nov

Get Smart About Antibiotics Week

November 15-21, 2010 is Get Smart about Antibiotics Week.  This is a campaign set forth by Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is a partner in this campaign.  
The goal this week is to help educate the public about the use of antibiotics, how they work, when they are  needed, and their side effects.
Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as ear infections, strep throat, sinusitis, and pneumonia.  It is important to know that antibiotics don't "work for everything."  Antibiotics do not treat viral infections.  Viruses cause the common, the flu, and many cases of upper respiratory infections.  You may wonder why your doctor does not prescribe an antibiotic each time your child is evaluated for his/her sore throat, cough, and stuffy nose.  That is because there is no cure for most viral infections. 
In fact, taking antibiotics unnecessarily may do more harm than good.  Your child may feel worse than he/she already does.  Antibiotics change the normal gut flora.  As a result, diarrhea is a common side effect as is nausea as well.  In addition, judicious use of antibiotics is imperative so as to prevent antibiotic resistance.  Over the decades, antibiotic resistance has increased.  This means that some antibiotics are no longer effective in their fight against infectious certain bacteria.  This occurred as a result of overuse of antibiotics in the past.  Lastly, it is important to make sure you follow your doctors directions in regards to how your child takes his/her anitbiotics.  Unless your child cannot tolerate his/her medication, please always make sure that he/she finishes the medication as directed.  In addition, do not save "left over" antibiotics and do not give "left over" antibiotics.  If you do, this leads to increased bacterial resistance.  In other words, this antibiotic is less likely to have killed the bacteria the first time, rendering it less susceptible to that same bacteria the next time.  As a result, your child will need to be placed on an additional course of antibiotics.  And no one wants that.
As always, the best resource you can have for all your questions regarding bacterial and viral infections and the treatment of your child(ren)'s illness is your doctor.  For more information, please check out the follow webpages from the CDC  (www.cdc.gov/getsmart/antibiotic-use/URI/index.html) and the AAP (www.healthychildren.org/English/News/pages/Get-Smart-About-Antibiotics.aspx).
4
Oct

Health Care Personnel & the Flu Vaccine

This September, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a statement that they support all healthcare personnel receiving a mandatory annual flu vaccination. The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and The Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) are other organizations that are also are in favor of such a measure.

Does your provider receive the Flu vaccine annually? You may be interested in knowing that bit of information. After all, if an unprotected health care provider becomes ill with the disease, that provider is now a source of the illness and can infect patients and other office staff members without having any intention of doing so.
Currently, the Flu vaccine is a voluntary vaccine for all health care personnel. However, the risks are different for the health care provider versus the patient. If a health care provider gets infected with the Flu, he/she will most likely infect many other patients before he/she is even aware that he/she has the illness. In my case, this could have devastating effects for the children I examine, especially those with chronic diseases such as asthma. Hence, very year I make sure to get the Flu vaccine. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect myself, my patients, my family, and friends from contracting the Flu.
There is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that stated that last January, approximately 35% of health care workers get Flu vaccinations. Nurses have some of the lowest rates of Flu vaccination.
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