Organization issues new guidelines for treating children's ear infections

Parents advised to watch, wait 3-5 days

INDIANAPOLIS - The American Academy of Pediatrics updated its treatment guidelines for children with ear infections, encouraging parents to watch and wait before seeking treatment.

"Everyone wants their child to be well, so do we," said Dr. Eric A. Yancy, a pediatrician who’s been treating children for 34 years.
Yancy explained how the AAP was clarifying its 2004 guidelines to watch and wait before treating ear infections with antibiotics.

"Now they're saying they want the actual diagnosis to be more stringent in that they want us to make sure this is an actual ear infection," he said.
Yancy said ear infections are one of the most common ailments pediatricians diagnose but are commonly not actual ear infections. He said that watching and waiting about three to five days to see if the so-called infection resolves itself really does work. 

However, he said in the meantime, parents can treat their kids with pain relievers and keep their heads elevated.

Parent Sherita Byrdsong, a mother of two, disagrees with the new guideline.
"I think they should give antibiotics first, and I think it'll knock everything out as soon as possible," she said.

But Yancy stood by the AAP's recommendation.

"We have parents who believe their child got better within minutes or hours after taking antibiotics. It just couldn't happen that fast," Yancy countered.

The guidelines recommend waiting to treat with antibiotics so children don’t become resistant to medicines. 

The guidelines say children should be given antibiotics immediately in some cases, like when the infection is severe or in both ears in infants. 


Follow Jenna Kooi on Twitter: @jennakooi

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