Common Childhood Bacterial Infections

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Children with infectious diseases are commonly encountered in primary care settings. Identification of the subset of patients with bacterial infections is key in guiding the best possible management. Clinicians frequently care for children with infections of the upper respiratory tract, including acute otitis media, otitis externa, sinusitis, and pharyngitis. Conjunctivitis is not an uncommon reason for office visits. Bacterial pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and gastroenteritis are regularly seen. Over the last decade, a growing number of children have had infections of the skin and soft tissue, driven by the increased prevalence of infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The following review addresses the epidemiology and risk factors for specific infections and examines the clinical presentation and selection of appropriate diagnostic methods in such conditions. Methods to prevent these bacterial infections and recommendations for follow-up are suggested. Management of these infections requires that antimicrobial agents be used in a judicious manner in the outpatient setting. Such antibiotic therapy is recommended using both available clinical evidence and review of disease-specific treatment guidelines.





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