It often seems like bacterial infections and childhood go together like peanut butter and jelly (or wine and cheese if you’re the more cultured type).
In most cases your child’s ear, nose and throat infection will be treated with antibiotics – but before you commit, it’s important to understand that your decision could affect your child’s long-term recovery.
Narrow-Spectrum vs. Broad-Spectrum
There are two types of antibiotics your West Chester ENT specialist might recommend.
Narrow-spectrum antibiotics are designed to fight only the bacteria causing the infection; amoxicillin is one such example.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics, on the other hand, fight a wide range of bacteria types.
Azithromycin or Z-Pak ® are frequently prescribed examples.
A study released in April by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) looked at more than 30,000 children between the ages of six months and 12 years to compare results between the two different antibiotic types.
All children had visited pediatric primary care practices in Pennsylvania or New Jersey for ear, nose or throat infections between January 2015 and April 2016 and were prescribed oral antibiotics.
Researchers found that narrow-spectrum antibiotics were just as effective as broad-spectrum antibiotics at killing bacteria within three days. Best of all?
There were fewer associated side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting and upset stomach.
Narrow-spectrum antibiotics are best if your child:
- Has strep throat confirmed by a rapid strep test or throat culture
- Has an ear or nose infection caused by bacteria
- Is between the ages of six months and 12 years
Narrow-spectrum antibiotics are not recommended for children who are younger than six months older or over the age of 12. It’s important to keep in mind that antibiotics are not an effective treatment against viruses.
The study did not examine treatment for infants or teens.
There are other problems with broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Because they target such a wide range of bacteria, they contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics – an increasing global problem that limits treatment solutions when drugs that once effectively killed bacteria no longer work.
This can result in prolonged illness and even death if alternative treatments cannot be found.
Ultimately, your child’s West Chester ENT doctor will decide on the best course of treatment depending on the type and severity of their infection and the number of solutions that are available.
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West Philadelphia Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic Locations
795 East Marshall Street #303
West Chester, PA 19380
689 Unionville Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348
455 W Woodview Rd #210
West Grove, PA 19390