If you have kids, no doubt you've taken them to the doctors for an ear infection. And most likely the doctor gave a prescription for antibiotics.
New guidelines were announced Monday, including more clearly defined signs and symptoms that indicate an infection needing treatment. A "watch and wait" method is suggested instead of antibiotic treatment for many children, including some under the age of 2 years. If children who are being observed don't improve within 48 to 72 hours from when symptoms first began, the guidelines recommend beginning antibiotic therapy. Children with continuous infections, now advise when it's time to see a specialist.
It's been 9 years since the last set of guidelines was issued.
Previous guidelines suggested antibiotics for ear infections in children age 2 and under. The new guidelines recommend that children between 6 months and 23 months can be observed with close follow-up as long as they don't have severe symptoms.
Reducing unnecessary antibiotic use is important. First, because it exposes child to unnecessary risks from side effects if they didn't need an antibiotic. And, second, there are dangers of developing antibiotic resistance.