New guidelines for treating ear infections

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics did not issue any radical new ideas on preventing middle ear infections in children in a new report released yesterday, they did emphasize three issues, two of which were lifestyle issues.

  1. Breastfed babies simply get less middle ear infections and so breastfeeding, especially with a strong family history of middle ear infection, is greatly encouraged for a minimum of 6 months.
  2. Any smoking in the house greatly adds to the incidence of middle ear infections in children in that house.
  3. In children over 24 months who mainly have pain in their ears and little else in symptoms, treating middle ear infections with pain medication such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen by mouth and lidocaine ear drops in the ear should be tried for 3 days before adding antibiotics. Such treatment has less side effects and works over 75 percent of the time.

Also, see my blog of 2 weeks ago on the different types of ear infection and their treatment. Similar to the recommendation in the report, my blog emphasizes not all ear infections require antibiotics and can get better on their own.