A new analysis suggests that most children who see a doctor for ear infections don’t need antibiotics, according to an article in USA Today. Ear infections are the No. 1 reason kids get antibiotics, with about 8 million kids seeing a doctor for this illness each year. These antibiotics cost the country $2.8 billion each year.
According to a review of 135 previously published studies in yesterday’s Journal of the American Medical Association, 80 out of 100 kids with ear infections will get better on their own in about three days, making antibiotics unnecessary for this kind if illness.
Author Tumaini Coker, a pediatrician at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA says the drawbacks of antibiotics outweigh their benefits. Five to 10 children will get diarrhea from the antibiotics and 3 to 10 will develop a medication-related rash.
Richard Rosenfeld, professor and chair of otolaryngology at Long Island College Hospital in New York, says the best relief for ear infections is a bedtime dose of over-the-counter ibuprofen.