Antibiotic contamination might be common throughout many hospitals — including in waiting areas, offices and cafeterias — according to Reuters.
A Norwegian study, which examined two of the country’s hospitals, found the highest levels of contamination in medicine and patient rooms, as was expected. Other areas of contamination included telephones, keyboards and tabletops.
In all, 81% of samples taken throughout the hospitals came back positive for antibiotic contamination, Reuters reports.
This study is particularly concerning given the fact that antibiotic resistance has become a pervasive problem in the U.S.
Among drugs that send children back for treatment and hospitalization, prescription antibiotics cause the most problems.
More than half a million children annually experience negative side effects to commonly used drugs, according to The Associated Press. The main offenders, antibiotics, are blamed for rashes, stomachaches and diarrhea.
While antibiotics are used to kill harmful bacteria, they can also eliminate strains of beneficial flora, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. The loss of “friendly bacteria” can lead to gastrointestinal illness, leave people vulnerable to invasive bacteria and compromise immune function.
Therefore, it might be wise of medical professionals and children to supplement their diets with probiotics. Probiotics, taken away from antibiotics, help repopulate the gut with health- and immune-promoting organisms, and they may help defend against adverse effects of antibiotic therapy.