Do All Ear Infections Need Antibiotics?

News about whether antibiotics are effective in treating children with ear infections have been making the rounds again.

The New England Journal of Medicine recently reported a trial where children under the age of 2 were split into two groups.  One group was given antibiotics while the other group was given placebos.  The group that received antibiotics had reduced symptoms (though not by a significant amount) and were also less likely to have prolonged infection. 

The trial confirmed that children under 2 should be treated with antibiotics immediately as long as there has been a definite diagnosis of ear infections (also know as acute otitis media).  Guidelines for determining ear infections will be revised and updated.

Our own medical expert, Dr. Ari Brown, a prediatrician in Austin, Texas, recently shared her own recommendations for children with ear infections.  For children under 2, she suggests treating them with antibiotics at once.  For children over 2, she suggests a wait-and-see approach to determine if the children get better on their own before needing antibiotics. 

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