Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

Practice Tips: Physician Information Sheet (Pediatrics)

Careful Antibiotic Use

Make promoting appropriate antibiotic use part of your routine clinical practice

Print-friendly version of this academic detailing sheet [48 KB, 1 page]

Practice Tips

When parents ask for antibiotics to treat viral infections:

  • Explain that unnecessary antibiotics can be harmful.
    • Tell parents that based on the latest evidence, unnecessary antibiotics CAN be harmful, by promoting resistant organisms in their child and the community.
  • Share the facts.
    • Explain that bacterial infections can be cured by antibiotics, but viral infections never are.
    • Explain that treating viral infections with antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections does not work.
  • Build cooperation and trust.
    • Convey a sense of partnership and don’t dismiss the illness as “only a viral infection”.
  • Encourage active management of the illness.
    • Explicitly plan treatment of symptoms with parents. Describe the expected normal time course of the illness and tell parents to come back if the symptoms persist or worsen.
  • Be confident with the recommendation to use alternative treatments.
    • Prescribe analgesics and decongestants, if appropriate.
    • Emphasize the importance of adequate nutrition and hydration.
    • Consider providing “care packages” with nonantibiotic therapies.
    • Create an office environment to promote the reduction in antibiotic use.
  • Talk about antibiotic use at 4 and 12 month well child visits.

    Doctor discussing anitbiotic use with a mother and her child.
    The AAP Guidelines for Health Supervision III
    (1997) now include counseling on antibiotic
    use as an integral part of well-child care.

  • Start the educational process in the waiting room.
  • Involve office personnel in the educational process.
    • Reenforcement of provider messages by office staff can be a powerful adjunct to change patient attitudes.
  • Use the CDC/AAP pamphlets and principles to support your treatment decisions.
    • Provide information to help parents understand when the risks of using antibiotics outweigh the benefits.

Top of Page

Images and logos on this website which are trademarked/copyrighted or used with permission of the trademark/copyright or logo holder are not in the public domain. These images and logos have been licensed for or used with permission in the materials provided on this website. The materials in the form presented on this website may be used without seeking further permission. Any other use of trademarked/copyrighted images or logos requires permission from the trademark/copyright holder...more

External Web Site Policy This graphic notice means that you are leaving an HHS Web site. For more information, please see the Exit Notification and Disclaimer policy.

 
Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
    Contact CDC-INFO
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
A-Z Index
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #