The popular antibiotic azithromycin -- also known as Zithromax, Zmax and Z-Pak -- is commonly prescribed for a number of childhood illnesses but can cause serious allergic reactions in some children, including kidney failure, liver failure, Stevens Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis.
Azithromycin is typically prescribed for bacterial illnesses, including ear infections, sinus infections, tonsillitis, sore throats and other common childhood maladies. Instead of killing bacteria in the body like other antibiotics, azithromycin stops the production of bacteria so the body’s immune system can clear up the infection on its own.
Azithromycin is attractive to parents and physicians since it is only a five-day course of antibiotics rather than the standard 10-14 day course for other antibiotics.
Common side effects of azithromycin include fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, skin rash and ringing in the ears. However, there have been reports of more severe reactions, including difficulty breathing, hives and swelling as well as a severe skin rash known as Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS).
Parents can be unaware that a skin rash that develops in association with azithromycin can be more serious than a normal reaction to the antibiotic. The first symptoms of SJS are very similar to the flu; however, after the flu symptoms stop, a skin rash consisting of red or purple blisters on the skins and in the mucous membranes of the body. The SJS rash kills the skin cells, causing large areas of skin to slough off.
If the rash covers less the 30% of the body, SJS is diagnosed. However, if the rash covers more than 30% of the body, the diagnosis will be Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), which has a mortality rate of 30-40% versus a mortality rate of 5-10% for SJS.
If your child develops a skin rash after taking azithromycin, you need to seek medical treatment immediately. If your child develops SJS or TEN as a result of taking azithromycin, you may be eligible to get compensation for personal injury.
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