A clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers updated guidance on treating respiratory tract infections in children, with the goal of reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.
The clinical report, "Principles of Judicious Antibiotic Prescribing for Bacterial Upper Respiratory Tract Infections in Pediatrics," published in the December 2013 Pediatrics and released online Nov. 18, advises physicians to use stringent diagnostic criteria to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections.
The report focuses on three of the most common pediatric upper respiratory infections: ear infections, sinus infections and strep throat.
"This report is particularly timely as we enter the winter season, when many respiratory viruses commonly circulate," said Mary Anne Jackson, MD, FAAP, a member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases and a lead author of the report.
"By using these principles, physicians will be able to more appropriately diagnose and treat otitis media [middle ear infection], sinusitis and strep pharyngitis."
Studies have shown that as many as 10 million antibiotic prescriptions are written each year for infections they are unlikely to help.
Recent evidence shows that prescriptions for broad-spectrum antibiotics have increased, even when no antibiotics are needed or when a narrow-spectrum antibiotic would work.
Overuse of antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance, making infections more difficult to treat.
Join Dr. Jackson as she shares more information on the new guidelines, as well as the danger of over-prescribing antibiotics.