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Guidelines for Antibiotic Use: 4 Tips for Parents

Guidelines for Antibiotic Use Guidelines for Antibiotic Use

If your child is given a prescription for antibiotics, it is important to take them correctly. Here are some important guidelines to follow:

  1. Give your child the antibiotic medicine exactly as directed. Be sure to have your child take the prescribed dose according to the schedule on the label (for example, one, two or three times a day).

  2. Make sure your child takes the entire course of antibiotics. If your pediatrician prescribes taking the medicine for 10 days, be sure your child takes it for the full 10 days—even if they feel better before then. If they stop taking the antibiotic early, some of the bacteria may stay in your child's body and the symptoms might return.

  3. Never give your child antibiotics that were prescribed for another person or for a previous illness. Don't be tempted to use old antibiotics you may have in your medicine cabinet. Your leftover antibiotics may be the wrong one for the new infection, the wrong dose, or be too old to work anymore. Throw out any leftover antibiotics—don't save them for future use.

  4. Ask your pediatrician whether your child should be seen after the antibiotics are finished. If they aren't feeling better after taking the full course of antibiotics, be sure to let your pediatrician know. Sometimes, the infection may be caused by resistant germs that require a different antibiotic.

More information

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Infectious Diseases (Copyright © 2022)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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