Monday, March 3, 2008
Careful Antibiotic Use
I never paid much attention to the posters in the pediatrician's office that shared the message of antibiotic overuse. I've also seen articles in magazines on the same subject, but until recently didn't spend time reading them. However, I have begun to consider the message that doctor's seem so eager to share.
Ashley has a LOT of ear infections and sinus infections - always has. One of the results of her birthmother's alcohol use while pregnant is Ashley's diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). And one of the features of her FAS is ears that are not normally formed internally. While many kids outgrow the ear infection stage by the time their eustachian tubes become more vertical rather than horizontal, Ashley's ears haven't followed that same progression. Throw into that mix several tumors she has had in her ears over the years, and ear infections become a lifetime issue. Even the slightest cold can turn into an ear infection, and infections require antibiotics. That path has led us to many different antibiotics, getting stronger and stronger ones, and instead of a typical 7 day course of the medication, 21 days is not usual for Ashley. But now, even the 21 days do not appear to be enough.
Last week, after failing three back to back courses of different oral antibiotics, the only choice left to battle Ashley's double ear infections was antibiotic shots. Last Thursday, she received three shots, Friday the same thing, and Saturday, the last three - nine shots in three days. Will that be enough to take care of the current ear infections? We won't find out until her recheck appointment at the end of this week, but even if this solution worked this time, does it mean Ashley's future holds more and more antibiotic shots?
While Ashley's case is not one of antibiotic overuse, she is a clear illustration of what can happen when antibiotics are used over and over again in short periods of time. If you have a child with an ear infection, and your doctor wants to wait a while before trying antibiotics, I would suggest giving it a try. If the pain is more than your little one can handle, the doctor can prescribe numbing drops to help. I would just hate to think of children having to endure what Ashley endured last week.