Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Antibiotics given to Infants

Question: When my wife delivered our 16 mo. old 54 hours after her water broke. The doctors were afraid of infection. Within hours of his birth the doctors started him on antibotics. Is there any correlation to him getting sick often (colds, croup, etc.) and antibotics at a young age? And if there is will his immune system become stronger in time? Is there any lasting effects we can expect in the future? Jon

Answer: In the best interest of your son, the decision was made to treat him with antibiotics immediately after birth. PRESENTLY, there are no known long term effects of administering a short course of this medication. Infection in a newborn that is not treated would have the possibility of potential problems.

Colds, croup and childhood illnesses are part of "being a kid."

These illnesses (mainly viruses) are spread from person to person. Antibiotics do not cure or prevent them. On the other side of the coin, taking antibiotics frequently and for reasons of "cold prevention," may upset the balance of the digestive system, as well as the immune system.

Your child's immune system will fight off certain illness that he has been exposed to by making "antibodies." This is the way immune systems become "stronger with time." There are no known lasting effects of the short antibiotic treatment given to your son at birth.

Dr. Betti

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    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.