Recent medical studies indicate that prescribing antibiotics right away, for children’s middle ear infections may not be advisable, since benefits may be modest and the antibiotics may in fact have some negative side effects.
Dr. Tumaini Coker and colleagues from Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA and the RAND Corporation examined data collected from 135 clinical trials to arrive at their conclusion.
They found that though middle ear infections were very common among young children, and that antibiotics are routinely prescribed for them, there is very little consensus on the treatment and diagnoses of these childhood infections.
It was found that 80% of children with ear infections actually get better in three days, on their own, without being given antibiotics.
Only an estimated 12% would actually be benefitted from the medications, however for a significant proportion, there would also be certain side effects – between 3 and 10% of the kids would then develop diarrhea or a rash.
This was seen with respect to those kids over the age of one, who have no other indications, and who have an otherwise normal immune system.
For this reason, not every child requires antibiotics when diagnosed with an ear infection and doctors, as well as parents have to resist the temptation to use them regardless.