No Pain, No Antibiotics

Doctor-tested strategy cures ear infections, keeps kids comfy

Next time your child gets an ear infection, stop the ache--then wait. "Some 70 to 90% of ear infections will clear naturally if given time," says Robert Siegel, MD, director of the Cincinnati Pediatric Research Group. But often, parents want an antibiotic to speed the healing process.

Research by Dr. Siegel and other pediatricians at Cincinnati's Children's Hospital Medical Center suggests that a new "safety net" strategy (immediate pain relief plus a prescription for an antibiotic, only to be filled after 48 hours if things don't improve or get worse) really works.

They tested it on 179 kids, ages I to 12, and found that two-thirds of ear infections cleared up without antibiotics. (Presented at the Peal/- Ask your doctor for two prescriptions. The families in the study received an antibiotic prescription plus one for numbing eardrops that was to be filled immediately.

Get comfortable. Apply the eardrops, and also try acetaminophen (Tylenol) and/or ibuprofen (Motrin) to reduce fever and pain.

Wait and see. If the fever or pain hasn't eased after 48 hours, get the antibiotic prescription filled. It should start working within a day.

PHOTO (COLOR): Let nature heal he rear infection.


By Lori Nudo

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