Antibiotic Use for Children’s Ear Infections

March 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

Collin County Pediatrics pic

Collin County Pediatrics
Image: collincountypediatrics.com

Providing care at Collin County Pediatrics, a practice he owns, Dr. Jay Schwartz helps parents to understand their children’s medical needs and appropriate treatments. Dr. Jay Schwartz stands out as an advocate for proper antibiotic use and has spoken on this topic before various professional audiences.

Pediatricians often receive visits from worried parents who request antibiotics for their children’s ear infections. This treatment is both traditional and popular, but recent statements from doctors all over the world suggest that it is not always the most appropriate choice.

Biologically, ear infections develop following the introduction of bacteria or virus to the Eustachian tubes. This infection causes fluid and mucus to build up inside the ear, which in turn causes the child pain as well as other potential issues like hearing problems, headache, fever, and irritability. The infection may be extremely uncomfortable, but most do go away on their own. More than half of children begin to experience symptom relief within a day even without antibiotics, while 75 percent feel better within a week.

Antibiotic treatment may speed relief for some children, but this is only the case if a child’s ear infection is bacterial. Viruses do not respond to antibiotics, regardless of type or severity. Furthermore, some physicians are reluctant to prescribe antibiotics even for mild to moderate bacterial infections, as commonly prescribed medications often correlate with side effects and may cause the child to develop a serious antibiotic resistance. For this reason, many experts are now suggesting that physicians reserve antibiotics for severe or longer-lasting infections.

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