Riley woke up on Monday morning crying piteously and when I went to touch his forehead I had to stop myself from collapsing to the ground howling “WHY, GOD, WHY?” because seriously, we just got over a round of feverish viral gunk two weeks ago, and the prospect of dropping right back into it was almost too much to bear.

The uncaring gods of bad timing don’t give a flying shit about anyone’s personal preferences, of course, so we wearily set up shop—installing Riley on the couch, creating an assembly line from our collection of half-full bottles of Motrin and Tylenol, putting up a cot in our bedroom for wee-hour ministrations, and hauling out the Barf Receptacle of Doom (aka the blue stockpot I guess I’ll probably never be cooking in again)—before getting down to the festive business of deciding who would stay home from work. The exact same routine we went through two weeks ago, down to the endless background blat of Curious George.

It turns out he has strep, for which his pediatrician prescribed the ubiquitous amoxicillin regimen. He woke up this morning fever-free and pretty much back to normal, so I’m feeling very ambivalent on whether or not to start the antibiotics. The amoxicillin won’t get rid of the strep, it’s used mainly to reduce time of contagion and prevent rare complications. Meanwhile, in my experience it totally wrecks their little gastrointestinal systems, starting about 24 hours into that endless prescription. I hate giving my kid something twice a day for TEN DAYS that’s going to give them the screaming fire shits, you know?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on antibiotics. Do you use them every time they’re prescribed? If you do use them, do you find that probiotics or something similar help with the collateral damage?


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13 years ago

I would use the abx only if absolutely warranted, but I would start with a good quality probiotic ASAP (no, you don’t have to wait until you’re done the course of drugs.) Then continue the probiotics for two months at least, YES TWO MONTHS, after the abx are done. Actually, continue to give your kid probiotics on a regular basis and their immune systems will benefit – leading to, hopefully, better defenses against the every-two-weeks nastiness. Hope this one passes quickly. :) Oh, also, read “Disease-Proof Your Child” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman; awesome info on a holistic nutritional approach to keeping your kids ear infection, strep and other bug -free.

13 years ago

We haven’t had any need for antibiotics for over a year. I started giving my kids a good dose of Vitamin D3 every day (it comes in gummy form, they love it) and I will SWEAR BY IT. They haven’t been sick in a YEAR. Before that, my son would come home with something every other week from church or Mother’s Day Out.

13 years ago

I have to take and antibiotic or risk a strange kind of phenomia.With that said…. it does stange things to my system, so I live on Activia.But my reason for taking the antibiotic are so far removed from yours. And I can’t take ammoxicillian or risk an allergic reaction.
so go with all the probotics you can.Vanilla is my favorite and I can mix my own fruit in it.
Good Luck.

13 years ago

I have no useful input on the antibiotic situation because others here have covered it thoroughly. I just wanted to add words of encouragement. My son started daycare at 6 months and was sick all the friggin time for awhile. My husband and I did the “whose job is more important” dance so often I wanted to hit something. Then by the time my son was 5, he hardly got more than a cold even though he started kindergarten with a whole new group of kids (and germs). Now at nearly 7.5, he still only gets a runny nose or cough occasionally and that’s it. Daycare is a total kick in the ass to kids’ immune systems, but once they adjust it’s like they have immune systems of iron. My daughter is 11 months and is currently going through the daycare plague series, but I know it will be over in time and even with this, my son still doesn’t get sick. Immune systems of iron are coming your way someday!

13 years ago

This happened to me before and I didn’t give my daughter the antibiotics. Tylenol and advil usually do the trick. She was on so many rounds of antibiotics I thought if I can skip this one, I will.
On a positive note, I have to say that both my girls were sick sick sick all the frigging time in daycare. Once they started school though, it was like they were golden. Never sick. My daughter in first grade hasn’t missed a day all year because of sickness. No help to you right now, but there will be a light at the end of the tunnel for you.

13 years ago

Just a note to echo the cautions about untreated strep with a literary reference. Laura Ingalls’ (Wilder) sister Mary got a strep infection that progressed to scarlett fever and went blind.

But… no pressure…

13 years ago

I am sure you are done reading these replies and I am not sure if anyone recommended this particular product but I have always had good results with the probiotic, Flurostor, when my child is on antibiotics. It’s behind the pharmacy counter and you have to ask for it. good luck.

13 years ago

Kirsty: I believe it’s the American Diet, and too much sterilization going on. Plus a lot of fear-mongering and interventions, creating a need for more interventions, etc…

Strep can be very dangerous, but in actuality it is quite rare. Most of the time it’s actually a viral tonsilitis, but doctors like to be safe rather than sorry (or insurance costs will rise for them!). I suspect Riley does not have actual strep, but who knows? Strep throat can usually get better on it’s own, but, if truly strep throat, doctors like to take precautions for the RARE occurance of rheumatic fever.

Probiotics are useful, and vital, but it takes years to create a colony of balanced gut bacteria, so taking them after abx is beneficial, but does not erase all damage.

Every parental decision is a personal choice, and I hope Riley feels better soon!

13 years ago

Shana: he had a rapid strep test, it wasn’t just a guess based on symptoms.

13 years ago

With strep yep I do antibiotics 100% of the time.

13 years ago

I don’t have kids, but I am allergic to most of the major (least side-effect causing) antibiotics. Whenever I get prescribed antibiotics they have to give me the super weird ones that also end up being the super strong ones with super awful gastrointestinal side effects. I found probiotics help me. But, I hate yogurt, so I buy them in pill form.

13 years ago

For strep, definitely, I give the abx. Rheumatic fever is nothing to fvck around with. Now ear infections, that’s another story.

13 years ago

Culturelle. And yes, it seems to help. You can sprinkle it into juice, cereal, whatever. I use the antibiotics because my kids are sick infrequently and I want to help them fight the infection quickly. But I totally get why you are thinking about it – it’s 10 days of no fun at all!

13 years ago

I rarely take my kids to the doc. Because usually a fever and other ick means viral and the doc will tell me to do the same thing I’d do anyway.

But. If my kid does have an infection of some kind, strep especially, I ALWAYS give them the antibiotics as prescribed. To not finish out the course a few times means my kid will develop a resistance to that particular one, and I don’t want that.

That said, they’re 5 and 6 and have each been on antibiotics once in their lives. Because, as I said, I don’t really do the doctor. Unless there’s severe something. Otherwise, I just take care of it myself.

13 years ago

Teapotlady, YES!!! I didn’t realize it until you pointed it out, but the kid on Cougar Town DOES look like a grown-up Riley! :)
It’s all been covered in the comments above Linda, so I’ll just throw in another vote for yes on the antibiotics and yes on the probiotics. My son has had strep repeatedly, having been diagnosed with the rapid-strep test. Antibiotics always punt it out pretty quickly, and it’s just not worth the risk. I don’t take him to the doc for every bug and sniffle…we try to tough it out with him. If things persist for several days AND he has a prolonged fever or strep symptoms, I’ll take him in.

13 years ago

We use Culturelle for Kids.

I got it at Walgreens or CVS (are those pharmacies out West? I don’t know!) Anyways it was behind the Pharmacy counter so I had to ask for it. Don’t be surprised by the price. But if it helps you avoid runny poop? Yeah, worth it. Also I don’t let my son see me putting it in his water cup. He can’t taste it (I’ve tried and I can’t taste it either), but holy crap if he sees me putting it in you’d think I added olive juice or something equally gross for a 4 year old.

Ask for a z-pack antibiotic next time for a 5 day dosing that works for the full 10 days in his system.

My 4yo currently has a sinus infection and we’re on Day 4 of the z-pack routine. It’s skippy.

I’m sure you’ve already heard this in your comments but I didn’t scroll through and read them all! Sorry!

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