«How do you know when to give your child antibiotics»

In our section «Ask an expert a question», reader Polina asks:

«The child went to kindergarten this year and is now constantly ill. He has been sick twice in the last three weeks. The first time he had a high fever, his throat was red. But after five days, everything passed. We went to kindergarten and came down with a fever again. The district pediatrician examined, said that the throat is red, there is a plaque. I prescribed antibiotics for angina, but I didn’t take any tests. How to understand whether it is really necessary to give the child antibiotics or the doctor was just being overly cautious?»

— Medical science calls angina a completely specific infection that affects the tonsils and is caused by a completely specific microbe called streptococcus. At the household level, people, as a rule, tend to call any red throat a sore throat. However, most sore throats occur under the influence of respiratory viruses. And with viral infections, antibiotics do not work.

Therefore, it is necessary to solve the issue individually every time with the help of a competent doctor and use antibiotics only when there is really a need for it.

How to determine if there is a bacterial infection?
A standard clinical blood test is basic information, which is enough: the level of leukocytes, leukocyte formula.

The ratio of lymphocytes and neutrophils, as well as the total level of leukocytes, clearly indicates the presence or absence of bacterial infection. Especially if we have the opportunity to assess the change in the blood formula, its dynamics: today there was such a level of white blood cells, and three days later it became like this.

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