With increasing healthcare prices, and the risks of antibiotic resistance, antibiotics are a less desirable remedy for ear infections. One research also shows they may boost risk for a recurrent ear infections in children.

Yes, you read that right. Infections and illnesses are part and parcel of life. Sometimes, a particularly stubborn infection just comes back. But what if the antibiotics we’re taking to fight them in the first place, are enabling their return?

A placebo might work better in the long run

In an article published on BMJ, scientists from the Netherlands found that 63% of children given the antibiotic amoxicillin had another ear infection within three years.
This is in contrast with 43% of children given a placebo at the time of their initial infection. To get down into the specific numbers, the scientists looked at 168 children with ages spanning six months to two years. They created two groups; one was given amoxicillin and the other was given a placebo. They found a 2.5 times higher risk of recurrent ear infection for the group which was given Amoxicillin.
Antibiotics may not be best in the long term
One way to explain this odd trend is that the children who took amoxicillin could have a weakened immune system as a result of taking the antibiotic at the initial stage of infection. Antibiotic use in such cases may cause an “unfavorable shift” toward the growth of resistant bacteria. So, while antibiotics may reduce the length and severity of the initial ear infection, they may also result in a higher number of recurrent infections and increased resistance to antibiotics.

Vaccines may be more effective at curing ear infections

Another study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, finds that health care use related to pediatric ear infections decreased from 2001 to 2011 and suggests that this reduction may be partially credited to the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. In this study, surgery and complications stemming from ear infections, including tympanic membrane perforation, otorrhea, and acute mastoiditis, were also studied, to provide a more comprehensive study.

Throughout the 11-year study period, which recorded 7.82 million children, Otitis Media-related health care visit rates decreased from 2004 to 2011, particularly in 2010 (which is when the vaccine was introduced). From 2010 to 2011, general healthcare visits, and ear infection related visits specifically, dropped significantly. Children younger than 2 years had the highest incidence of Otitis Media. The researchers extrapolated what visit rates might have been had the vaccine not been introduced, and the recorded observations showed that the observed reductions in visit rates among children were significantly lower than the predicted rate. This is a strong indication of the vaccines’ efficacy.
There are many ways to stay healthy

In Summation

Hate them or love them, antibiotics and vaccines have their strong points. It would seem imprudent to completely ignore or adopt either one. Though both are considered invasive, and have effect on our body’s immune system, each (separately and together) have benefits and advantages which cannot be ignored. Combined with alternative treatments, and moderate use, antibiotics and vaccines can keep you and your children healthy.

Before you choose to avoid antibiotics, prevent your child from receiving vaccines, or try to treat the ear infection with an alternative medication you heard about online, go and consult with your doctor.

Tagged with:

Comments are closed.