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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics collaborated in the December online issue of Pediatrics that offers updated guidance on treating respiratory tract infections in children, with the goal of reducing unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

This article is especially important during cough, cold and flu season. All are caused by viruses, not bacteria, and therefore do not respond to treatment with antibiotics. Studies have shown that as many as 10 million antibiotic prescriptions are written each year for infections that are most likely due to a virus, so there’s no need for them.

One of the most common reasons a parent takes their child to the pediatrician is for symptoms of a common cold. The runny nose, cough, congestion and just not feeling well usually lasts about 10 days. Pediatricians need to explain – and parents need to understand – that the best treatment for an upper respiratory infection is lots of tender loving care, warm showers at bedtime, a cool mist humidifier, lots of fluids, and chicken noodle soup and popsicles to help soothe stuffy noses, scratchy throats and calm coughs. I’m trying tea with honey for my cough.

Antibiotics are very important when used appropriately. That said, at least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria each year. By using antibiotics when only necessary, doctors hope the incidence of antibiotic resistance will not continue to rise. Just know that no matter what you do, it takes seven to 14 days to get well, and that a toddler will get five to seven colds, coughs and upper respiratory infections during the winter. It’s great if your child doesn’t need an antibiotic; accept that with honor!