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Children Sent to ER Over Antibiotics Side Effects

Dec 7, 2016

A new study released by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that over 65,000 children end up in emergency rooms every year over adverse reactions to antibiotics, most commonly due to allergic reactions to the drugs.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on November 22, looked at the medical records of almost 6,000 children 18 and under and found that the most common allergic reactions included difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat and mouth, hives and skin rashes. Other patients suffered from muscle weakness, headaches, fainting, dizziness, diarrhea and stomach cramping.

Other children developed a far more serious infection, candida, after taking these drugs. Candida is a type of fungus that is known to cause yeast infections as well as C. difficile, a potentially deadly bacterium that causes a dangerous type of diarrhea. If the antibiotics administered to these children wipe the protective bacteria from their bodies, it can leave them vulnerable to attack from these germs.

The CDC study found that 8 of the 15 most problematic drugs included commonly administered antibiotics like:

  • Penicillin
  • Clindamycin (Cleosin and generic)
  • Azithromycin (Z-Pak, Zithromax and generic)
  • Amoxicillin (Moxatag, Amoxil and generic)

Side effects from taking antibiotics were the most common reason children under 6 years old ended up in the ER, and those same drugs were also responsible for almost one in three ER visits for patients between the ages of 6 and 19.

A troubling thing to note is that, for many of these patients, they didn’t even need antibiotics to begin with. According to an analyses conducted by the CDC in 2011, more than half of all antibiotic prescriptions for children under the age of 15 were for respiratory tract infections. These infections are frequently caused by a virus, which cannot be treated with antibiotics. Medical organizations like the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise against using antibiotics to treat common childhood aliments like sore throats not caused by strep, coughs and colds.

Adam Hersh, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease said that:

“Many antibiotic prescriptions are not necessary to begin with… Cold, the flu, and other respiratory infections are typically caused by viruses. And antibiotics don’t work against viruses.”

How Do I Keep My Child Safe?

The best way to keep your child safe from landing in the ER because of these types of side effects is to learn when antibiotics are truly necessary and when they should be avoided. Not only do they not help treat viral infections, overuse of these drugs has led to the rise of deadly antibiotic-resistant superbugs. According to the CDC, at least 2 million people are infected by these types of bacteria every year, and 23,000 people or more die as a direct result of their infections.

ER visits are incredibly stressful events for both the patient in dire need of assistance as well as their family and loved ones. If your child was sent to the ER after receiving an unnecessary antibiotic prescription, you may be able to file a lawsuit to secure compensation to cover their medical bills and any other damages incurred. At Bailey Peavy Bailey Cowan Heckaman, our Houston drug injury lawyers have spent their careers fighting for the rights of injured victims and are ready to provide you with the legal representation you require in your time of need. Give us a call at (888) 367-7160 to speak with a member of our firm, or fill out our online form to give us the details of your case and request a free case evaluation today.

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