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Hard Fact: Too Many Medications Makes Your Child Ill

Falling ill is an absolutely natural process. Common illnesses like cold, fever and stomach infections are caused when harmful bacteria or virus invades our body. Children, compared to adults, are at higher risk of contracting infections. Infections are usually passed on from one person to another, through touch and physical contact, and illnesses, especially in high-interaction places like school, play area and closed spaces like movie theatres. Though it’s practically impossible to stop them from falling ill, we can definitely minimise the chances by adopting preventive measures.

Illness is when your child needs complete rest, for the body needs to heal itself. Most of the time, their own immunity system can fight the infection effectively and cure the disease without any antibiotics. All it will take is a bit of time (natural healing time), patience and lots of loving care. According to child health experts, children should never be given any kind of medication – especially antibiotics - unless and until it is utmost necessary.

Unfortunately, many parents insist that their child be cured in a day or two, even it means giving them extra medications. And the reason is most often exams or “missing important classes”.

What happens when a child is given antibiotics for an illness that would otherwise go away on its in a few days?

To begin with, they won’t work. Yes taking antibiotics for colds and other viral illnesses will not help one bit. So, in effect, the medication is being given for no reason. This practice, if continued over a period of time, can lead to disastrous side effects.

Unnecessary medications, across time, will impact the child’s immunity system and reduce its ability to fight and prevent diseases naturally.

Frequent and incorrect use of antibiotics can cause the bacteria and other microbes to alter themselves in such a way that antibiotics don’t work against them. This is called antibiotic resistance or bacterial resistance. Treating the resistant bacteria requires higher doses of medicine, which means stronger antibiotics. And the cycle continues. Worldwide researches suggest that certain bacteria have become resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics available today.

Antibiotic resistance is a cause of great concern, especially in children. Bacteria that are fast gaining resistance include those that cause pneumococcal infections like pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and meningitis, skin infections, and tuberculosis.

In addition to antibiotic resistance, excess use of antibiotics can kill even the good bacteria that help keep the body healthy. At times, taking antibiotics can cause a person to develop diarrhoea as the good bacteria that help in digestion get killed.

Apart from antibiotic, paracetamol too can have deadly effects if given in excess quantities. Called paracetamol toxicity, this an extremely dangerous condition that can lead to life-threating complications like liver failure.

So what do you need to do when your child falls sick?

  • Seek immediate medical help; never wait for symptoms to worsen.
  • Let the doctor decide the optimal course of treatment for your child.
  • At times, the illness may not require any medications. Be patient, your child will recover soon.
  • Do not insist that your child be given extra medications, especially antibiotics to hasten recovery. Remember, no exams or classes are more important than your child’s health.
  • Follow the exact dose prescribed. Do not alter the dose without the doctor’s permission.
  • Do not give any extra/ added medications without consulting the treating doctor
  • Give the your child’s body the time and rest it requires to heal.
  • Illness is the time your child requires rest, care, love and healthy food.
  • Ask the doctor as to what foods should be included/ not included in the diet.
  • It’s good to give them plenty of fluids so that the toxins get flushed out.
  • Apart from physical rest, make sure you give your child mental rest. Stress will delay the healing process.
  • Send your child to school only after he or she has fully recovered so that the chain of infection spread stops.
  • Once out of the illness, ensure that your child adopts preventive measures like good hygiene and healthy diet to boost his or her natural immunity.

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