Antibiotics are humanity\u2019s most important life-saving medicine. Helping treat millions of infections every year. But when it comes to using them for kids, we need to be careful and stay informed. While antibiotics are important for kids' health, we must use them wisely to protect our children's future health. Nazatul Amira Hamzah, Pharmacist and Key Account Manager at Primabumi Sdn Bhd We had a chat with Nazatul Amira Hamzah from Primabumi Sdn Bhd, qualified pharmacist with 10 years of pharmaceutical experience, to help parents learn all they need to about antibiotics use in children. Q1: What are antibiotics? Antibiotics are like powerful tools that doctors use to fight infections caused by bacteria. These infections can happen in different parts of the body, like the throat, skin, or even inside you. Antibiotics come in different forms, like pills, liquids, creams, and even shots, depending on what kind of infection you have and where it is. It's important to know that there are other types of medicines for different kinds of infections too: \tAntivirals: These are for fighting infections caused by viruses, like the flu or common cold. \tAntifungals: These help when you have infections caused by yeasts or fungi, like athlete's foot or a fungal nail infection. \tAntihelmintics: These are used to get rid of parasitic worms that can make you sick. Q2: Do all antibiotics work the same way? No, antibiotics aren't all the same. They're actually divided into different groups based on how they're made and how they work. Each group of antibiotics has its own way of fighting infections, and even within the same group, each antibiotic can be a bit different. Some might be better at treating certain infections, while others could have different levels of safety and how well they get absorbed and used by the body. So, they're not one-size-fits-all medicines. Q3: Do all infections need to be treated with an antibiotic? No, antibiotics are not given for every type of infection. They are only used when the doctor is pretty sure or certain that the infection is caused by bacteria. Doctors use a special test to figure out which antibiotic will work best for that bacterial infection. Antibiotics don't help at all if the infection is caused by things like viruses, yeasts, fungi, or parasites. In Malaysia, only trained doctors have the authority to decide when antibiotics should be used for their patients. Q4: How do I know that my child might need an antibiotic? The smartest thing to do when your child is sick is to see a doctor. They can figure out exactly what's wrong with your child and decide if antibiotics are needed. If they think antibiotics will help, they'll give you the right ones for your child's specific illness. They'll choose antibiotics that are safe and will work well based on what's going on with your child and how they're feeling. Q5:f my child is prescribed with an antibiotic, how do I administer it to them? It's really important to give your child the antibiotic exactly as the doctor tells you. If the antibiotic is in a liquid form like syrup or powder that you mix with water, use the right measuring tool like a syringe or a special spoon to make sure you give the right amount every time. Sometimes, if you have leftover medicine that was mixed with water, you might need to keep it in the fridge. But remember, once your child finishes the treatment, any extra medicine should be thrown away. Q6: How long does it take for an antibiotic to work? After your child starts taking antibiotics, you should notice them feeling better within 48 to 72 hours. But if their symptoms don't get better or actually get worse after this time, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor for advice. Q7: My son is currently taking an antibiotic that the doctor prescribed for his cough and fever 3 days ago. His sister suddenly developed similar symptoms this morning. Can she share her brother's antibiotic? Don't give the same medicine to another child, even if they seem to have the same symptoms as your child. Only do this if your doctor says it's okay. It's really important for each child to see a doctor so they can figure out what's going on and give the right treatment. Q8: Can antibiotics cause allergies or side effects in my child, and what should I do if they happen? Just like with any medicine, antibiotics can sometimes come with certain side effects or cause allergies. This might show up as an itchy rash, coughing, trouble breathing, or tummy problems like diarrhea, feeling sick, or stomach pain. If this happens, stop giving them the antibiotic right away and call the doctor. They can suggest a different treatment that will work better for your child. Q9: Can I give the same antibiotic the next time my child suffers from the same symptoms? It's important to know that just because two kids have similar symptoms, it doesn't mean they have the same kind of infection. Things like coughing, sneezing, and a stuffy or runny nose are often caused by viruses, and antibiotics don't work against them. Even if the doctor says the same antibiotic is okay for a new infection, the amount your child needs might be different based on their age, weight, and how sick they are. Always talk to the doctor before giving antibiotics to your child to make sure it's the right choice. Q10: I was told that repeated use of antibiotics is bad for my child\u2019s health. Why is that so? Using antibiotics too often or not correctly can lead to two main health problems: antibiotic resistance and messing up the balance of good bacteria in your gut. Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria learn how to beat the antibiotics we use to kill them. This makes it hard, and sometimes impossible, to get rid of these bacteria the next time they make us sick. In our stomachs and intestines, there are lots of tiny organisms that help our bodies do important jobs. We call these little helpers "microbiomes" or "good bacteria." When we take antibiotics, they don't just kill the bad bacteria causing infections; they also kill some of the good ones. This can upset the balance of these helpful bacteria and cause problems with digestion and our immune system. So, even though antibiotics are really important for fighting infections, it's crucial to use them the right way and under a doctor's guidance. Your doctor can tell you if your child needs antibiotics and which one is best for their specific infection. Source: Nazatul Amira Hamzah, Pharmacist at Primabumi Sdn Bhd Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice from Motherhood. For any health-related concerns, it is advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or medical practitioner. 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