Infections Don’t Always Require Antibiotics

No parent wants to see their child in pain. So it’s understandable that when many parents see their pediatrician about a possible infection, they want fast relief for their child. But new guidelines for the treatment of infections including middle ear infection, also known as acute otitis media, suggest that the best route to recovery might not always be via antibiotics.
Middle ear infection is the most common bacterial illness in children. In 2000, parents made more than 16 million doctor’s visits about middle ear infections, generating more than 13 million antibiotic prescriptions
in the United States. Concerns about the widespread use of antibiotics leading to antibacterial resistance prompted the development of the middle ear infection guidelines for otherwise healthy children, which were issued on March 9th by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Antibacterial resistance can cause hard-to-treat infections that can spread throughout communities.
“The approach here is groundbreaking in that this is the first time national organizations are recommending withholding antibiotics for what is mostly a bacterial infection,” says guideline coauthor Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, director of pediatric otolaryngology at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. “We’re trying to balance the benefits and harms of antibiotics to help target the antibiotics to the kids who benefit most.”

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