Is it safe for my child to be on long-term antibiotics for a UTI?

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Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Antibiotics are most beneficial during the first 6 months of treatment. That's when a urinary tract infection (UTI) is most likely to stage a comeback in infection-prone kids. Long-term antibiotic use in children with UTIs has been linked to antibiotic resistance (when wily germs mutate to the point that they laugh off an antibiotic).

If your child has a normal urinary tract, she may be able to prevent future infections by following a few simple rules:
  • Go when she needs to go. Holding it till she's doing the pee-pee dance outside the bathroom can cause urine to back up and allow bacteria to thrive.
  • Clean properly. Children need to be taught to wipe front to back after urinating to avoid carrying bacteria from the rectum to the urinary tract.
  • Avoid bubble baths and strong soaps. Both can irritate the urethra and make it painful to urinate. If she tries not to go because of this, it increases her UTI risk.