Possible Change in Treatment for Ear Infections in Children

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

WAYNESBORO -- Health officials say three out of four kids will get an ear infection by the time they turn 3 years old. It's been standard practice to prescribe antibiotics for this ailment, since the last guidelines were issued in 2004.

Next month, that changes when new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics reccomend kids 2 years old and under should not be given antibiotics immediately. Instead, parents should watch those children to see if their initial condition worsens.

Pediatricians said those kids are more likely to recover without the help of antibiotics.

“Ear infections are a tricky business because there is just fluid behind the ear. Sometimes the eardrum looks a little different. This really tries to pin in and become very clear and specific about what is an ear infection,” said Dr. Robert Fern, a pediatrician with Valley Pediatrics.

Doctors said they have encouraged parents to use the watch and wait method for the past couple years.

Formal guidelines are expected to be published in next month's issue of Pediatrics Journal. This comes at the same time of a national initiative to use less antibiotics to prevent bacteria from becoming immune.

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