Australian Doctors Warn Parents of Unnecessary Treatments

(Photo: Pexels, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Pexels, Creative Commons)

New medical advice for parents warning that children should not be given paracetamol (acetaminophen/Tylenol) and ibuprofen for fever unless they are “uncomfortable or distressed” has confused more than a few moms and dads in Australia.

And this is only one of several recommendations released by medical professionals who are experiencing new mandates concerning medical treatment that is not necessary, reports Australia’s Yahoo! News.

Physicians studied 61 of the most commonly used over-the-counter and prescribed medicines and treatments and submitted their findings to the National Prescribing Service (NPS) Choosing Wisely Australia campaign. The goal is to lessen the cost of health care and to improve the country’s medical industry.

But parents are unnerved by some of the advice, such as not giving antibiotics to babies who have an ear infection. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners stated that if a baby has one or both ear drums inflamed, it takes over 24 hours for the drug to reduce the pain of the infection.

College President Dr. Frank Jones instructs parents to use paracetamol or ibuprofen to manage the pain. He added that antibiotics should only be given to children if the young person has a fever, is vomiting, or showing signs of lethargy.

The idea that a child should only be given medicine to reduce temperature if the child is distressed or felt uncomfortable was explained:

“Fever is defined as a rise in body temperature above the normal range of approximately 37.8 degrees Celsius  and is commonly seen as a primary indication of illness in children,” the findings claimed.

“It is a normal physiological response to infection and illness and will not place a generally healthy child at harm.

“The benefits of fever in slowing the growth and replication of bacteria and viruses are well documented,” they claimed.

President of the Australian Medical Association Professor Brian Owler told the Daily Telegraph the Choosing Wisely campaign called for halting the use of antibiotics to infants with a high temperature because it could interfere with the decision to take the baby to a hospital. One in 14 children have had side effects from antibiotics, and it was shown that overuse of the drug can facilitate antibiotic-resistant infections.

Medical colleges and physicians have also recommended that foot and ankle injuries should not be x-rayed and advised that no x-rays be taken for uncomplicated bronchitis cases nor for upper respiratory infections.

Other recommendations included stopping antibiotic treatments for urinary tract infections, for acne, and, whenever possible, for intensive care patients, according to The Huffington Post Australia.

Chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Dr. Justin Coleman says a child with an infection does need to see a doctor so that the physician can check for any factors that are not routine. And if the child does not improve, parents need to visit their pediatrician again to see why the child is not getting better or is getting worse.

Dr. Coleman said doctors often become overconfident in specific treatments, but when the evidence changes about the efficacy of the drug, practice needs to change as well.

Even more unnecessary procedures that are no longer recommended include routine colonoscopies, CT scans to check for appendicitis, reoccurring blood tests for fatigue, and x-rays for lower back pain, writes Australian Women’s Weekly.