Parents are being urged to stop giving children painkillers for a fever and doctors advised to avoid giving youngsters antibiotics for ear infections as part of a crackdown on ‘unnecessary’ medication.
The Choosing Wisely Australia campaign has released 61 recommendations for X-rays, use of antibiotics and palliative care in a bid to rein in health costs and avoid bacterial resistance.
One of the recommendations included that doctors should not routinely give antibiotics to children aged between two and 12 who are suffering with an ear infection.
Dr Frank R Jones from The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said: ‘Middle ear infection is a common reason for children aged 2 to 12 years to present to their GP, and we recommend against routine use of antibiotics for this age group.
Parents are being urged to stop giving children painkillers for a fever as part of a crackdown on ‘unnecessary’ medication (stock image)
‘Regardless of whether one or both eardrums are red or bulging, antibiotics do not reduce pain at 24 hours. The small benefits of antibiotic use must be weighed up against the risk and potential side-effects such as rash, diarrhoea, or vomiting.
‘We are reminding doctors and parents that it is also safe to not use antibiotics in routine situations where the evidence suggests it won’t help the child.’
He said that antibiotics ‘promote bacterial resistance’ both in the individual and community.
The doctor said the guidelines differ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and for infants under six-months-old.
Fourteen prestigious medical colleges, societies and associations have suggested areas they believe could be changed to reduce ‘unnecessary care’ as part of the campaign.
The Australian College of Nursing urged parents not to give children paracetamol or ibuprofen to bring down their temperature when they are ill.
One of the recommendations included that doctors should not routinely give antibiotics to children aged between two and 12 who are suffering with an ear infection (stock image)
Fourteen prestigious medical colleges, societies and associations have suggested areas they believe could be changed to reduce ‘unnecessary care’ as part of the campaign
‘The benefits of fever in slowing the growth and replication of bacteria and viruses are well documented,’ the college said.
The college said medicine should only be used to reduce fever if the child is uncomfortable or distressed.
The campaign also suggested that the number of scans and X-rays should be cut down because of the unnecessary exposure to radiation.
They called for a stop to X-rays of most foot and ankle injuries, uncomplicated acute bronchitis as well as ultrasounds for groin hernias and endoscopy for gastric band patients.
End-of-life care also formed a focus for the campaign which suggested that decisions should be considered early by clinicians, families and patients.
Dr Simon Allan from The Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine says, ‘It’s important not to delay conversations around end of life and palliative care.
‘One of our recommendations is to not delay discussion of and referral to palliative care for a patient with serious illness.
‘Early access to palliative care has been shown to reduce aggressive therapies at the end of life, prolong life in certain patient populations, and significantly reduce hospital costs.’