Antibiotics may not be the answer for your child’s ear infection!
Ear infections are one of the most common illnesses of childhood…the new approach to treatment may surprise you!
I saw a toddler with an ear infection today…not that unusual. Most of our children will have an ear infection at some point with about 3 out of 4 kids having one before age 3. I remember being up with crying babies or toddlers who had ear infections, the night seemed endless. The routine was usually the same, head to the doctor and start the “pink bubble gum” medicine, and plan for a couple more days of fussiness until our little one felt better. Things have changed a bit…
Kids still get ear infections…most ear infections begin with a virus like a cold or sometimes a bacterial infection. Children will sometimes run fevers, about ½ do, and usually become very fussy and uncomfortable. I find that the most common complaint is that the child will not sleep lying down, only in an upright position and is just not acting like themselves. Some children may fuss and pull at their ears, but this is not always a tell tale sign. Many children pull at ears when they are tired or teething too!
So after a long night with a child who is fussy and not feeling well, parents want a fix! The American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation is that the fix may not be an antibiotic! Except when an ear infection is severe or in a very young infant, many children are able to fight them off on their own. Studies are showing us that many ear infections whether treated with an antibiotic or not, are resolved in the same amount of time. Many times an ear infection is due to a virus, which wouldn’t be helped with an antibiotic anyway.
So, don’t be surprised if your pediatrician asks you to watch your child for the next couple of days to see if your child begins to get better without antibiotics. Treatment with ibuprofen or acetaminophen will help the ear discomfort, but the antibiotic may not be needed. Remember overuse of antibiotics is not good for any of us; it can result in bacteria becoming resistant to drugs. So, a quick fix may not be available for that fussy little one with an ear infection, but the “wait and see” route may just be the best for your child!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.