Thursday, August 30, 2018
Doctor's Perspective
Antibiotics may cause more harm than good
By Dr. Anthony Policastro Phone calls from parents are part of pediatric after hours calls. I frequently had calls from parents whose children had signs of infection. Much of the time, I would make arrangements to see the child after hours. However, that offer was not always acceptable to all parents. Some of them wanted me to just call in an antibiotic for their child. I would explain that not all children needed an antibiotic. Their response was usually that they knew their child better than me. They knew their child needed an antibiotic. There was no reason for a visit. Usually my response was I would be willing to see the child if they wanted, however, I was not going to call in an antibiotic without seeing the child. Sometimes they got persistent. I used to think that if they knew so much, they should just write the prescription themselves. A recent study shows why this is so relevant. Researchers looked at ER visits from 2011 to 2105. Antibiotics accounted for about 70,000 emergency room visits each of those years. Most of the visits were for allergic reactions. They accounted for 86% of the children that were seen. What was not clear was how many patients did not get seen for reactions. For example, some may have gone to their doctor's office. Others might have just stopped the medication and not sought care. Therefore, these 70,000 children represent only a part of children who react to antibiotics. There was a distinct difference in age groups. About 46% of the children were under the age of 2. This is not that surprising. Most children who receive antibiotics tend to be younger, therefore, we would expect this to be the case. What was more interesting was the fact that the antibiotic causing symptoms varied by age. Amoxicillin was the most common antibiotic causing ER visits under the age of 9. We need to be aware that Augmentin contains amoxicillin as well. This is not a huge surprise. Non-allergic skin rashes are common with amoxicillin. They might result in an ER visit, however, this is not a true allergic reaction. In children ages 10-19, the most common offender was a combination of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. Two preparations of this are commonly used - Septra and Bactrim. The bottom line is that allergic reactions to antibiotics in children are common. They are frequently associated with ER visits. It makes sense to be sure the child really needs an antibiotic before prescribing one. Sometimes the treatment is indeed worse than the disease.

Nanticoke offering free diabetes support groups As a person with diabetes, are you struggling to make positive behavior changes in your life or would just like to share with others coping with diabetes? Nanticoke Memorial Hospital hosts free diabetes support groups on Mondays four times a year from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the Medical Staff Conference Room. Pre-registration is required. Remaining 2018 Schedule:
  • September 17 - "Move with Jonathan" ft. Jonathan Souder, MS, Fitness Director at Manor House
  • December 3 - "The Dish on Diabetes"
Learn food preparation skills for simple, savory diabetic dishes. For more information or to register, contact Nanticoke's Diabetes Education department at 302-629-6611, extension 2288. To learn more about diabetes services at Nanticoke, visit

Childbirth classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital hosts childbirth classes on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Ground Floor Conference Room. The class will meet for five weeks - four weeks related to childbirth education and the fifth week a breastfeeding class. Classes will be held on the following dates: Aug. 30, Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27; Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1; and *Nov. 13, 20, 27, Dec. 4, 11 (*Tuesdays). The maternity education classes are designed to offer information, counseling, support, and hands-on experience to help prepare for a new family member. They will cover pregnancy in general, information to prepare the expectant mother for labor and delivery, and will include a tour of Nanticoke's Mother & Baby Care Center. The cost of the childbirth course is $50, and the cost for the refresher course is $25. Pre-registration is required for either class. To register contact Nanticoke's clinical educator at 302-629-6611, ext. 2540.

Ovarian cancer awareness State Rep. Ruth Briggs King will be teaming up with the Town of Georgetown to create greater awareness about ovarian cancer by participating in the "Turn the Towns Teal" campaign in September. "Turn the Towns Teal" (TTTT) is a national campaign designed to raise awareness of what has often been referred to as a "silent disease" because ovarian cancer's symptoms are typically vague and subtle. There is no reliable diagnostic screening for ovarian cancer. As part of the campaign, and in coordination with the Delaware Ovarian Cancer Foundation (DOCF), Rep. Briggs King, Mayor West, and their team of volunteers will tie teal-colored ribbons throughout the town's jurisdiction on Friday, Aug. 31 at 10 a.m. The first stop will be The Circle in Georgetown. Rep. Briggs King and Mayor West invite any volunteers to meet them at the Town Hall on The Circle. Together, the team will then begin hanging the ribbons on The Circle. Residents are encouraged to tie a teal ribbon on their mailboxes and sign posts on their property to show support for the awareness campaign. More information is available at

Diabetes education Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host a four-session diabetes educational program, The Diabetes Connection, on September 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Nanticoke can help teach you the self-care skills needed to keep you on track. This four-session diabetic program includes weekly education sessions in a group setting. One family member or significant other is welcome to attend as a passenger on your diabetic road trip. The cost of the program may be reimbursable by insurance.

Program Schedule Week #1 What is Diabetes? Physiology and Self-Care Skills Review Week #2 Meal Planning, Eating Out, Reading Food Labels Week #3 Self Blood Glucose Monitoring & Management, Sick Day Rules, Traveling Week #4 Medications Used to Manage Diabetes Stress Management: Coping with Diabetes & Lifestyle Changes Summary & Course Evaluations, Goal Setting

To register or for more information about this course, contact Nanticoke's Diabetes Education Department at 629-6611, extension 2288. To learn more about diabetes services at Nanticoke, visit

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