What You Need to Know About Ear Infections

Moms and Dads, this ones for you.  Ear infections are the number one reason for antibiotic prescription in infants and young children, so what do you need to be aware of?  First, the average child under 2 years of age will have 2 ear infections per year.  Risk factors that increase the likelihood of ear infection include: daycare attendance, exposure to cigarette smoke, pacifier use beyond 10 months, and formula feeding.

Since it is likely that you and your child will experience this at some point, here is the best current information to keep in mind:

  • Most cases are viral, so antibiotics will be of no help.  Medical offices do not culture the ear fluid to determine if it is viral or bacterial.
  • A British Medical Journal study found that 17 children must be treated with antibiotics to prevent just one child from experiencing some pain.
    -Del Mar C.  Are antibiotics indicated as initial treatment for children with acute otitis media?  British Medical Journal 1997; 314(7093): 1526-1529. 

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