Parents of children insured by Medicaid are more likely to incorrectly assume antibiotics can treat colds and flu and seek these drugs when kids don't actually need them, a study in Pediatrics suggests. Parents surveyed in Massachusetts reported using antibiotics for their kids on average less than once a year, the study found, but when asked if antibiotics should be used for colds or flu, only 44% of the Medicaid parents correctly said "no," compared with 78% of parents with private coverage. Researchers compared the results from a survey conducted in 2000, it found:
- The proportion of parents who thought antibiotics didn't work for nasal discharge increased from 23% to 49% among the commercially insured, and from 22% in 2000 to 32% in 2013 among Medicaid parents; and
- Those who realize antibiotics rarely work for bronchitis rose from 9% to 14% among privately insured and from 5% to 12% for Medicaid families.
Beyond spawning superbugs that are harder to treat, greater use of antibiotics may also be linked to an increased risk of a common form of juvenile arthritis, another study in Pediatrics suggests.