“Mommy, My ear hurts!”. This sentence, made of 4 words, 15 letters, usually implies a trip to the doctor, 3 days of pain and at least one round of antibiotics. Most parents will hear this sentence at least once, since 75% of children will have one or more ear infections by the age of 5.

A review on the recent guidelines sheds some light on treating children’s ear infections for the confused parents.

Recently, new guidelines for treatment of ear infections in children were published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. These guidelines urge doctors and parents to treat ear infections more cautiously. The guidelines emphasizes the downside of doctor’s and parents’ urgency to treat the Ear Infection. In fact, The urgency and impatience result in wrong treatment, overusing antibiotics and painkillers, Unneeded stress and finally a child who is terrified of all the process.

The main conclusion from the new guidelines is to Make Sure the Child has an ear infection. There are numerous causes for ear pain, and ear infection is only one of them. In most cases, a doctor can have a glance on the Eardrum and see the infection. The eardrum is pushed outwards when there is an infection, and it is visible with an Otoscope (device for inspecting ear & nose, available in every doctor’s office).

The second conclusion which should be adopted closely by parents is to “Sit & Wait”. Though a child’s cry is hard to ignore, TLC (Tender Love & Caring) can help a lot with the crying, and calm the child. Instead of turning straight to Antibiotics, a Doctor can watch the child (through follow up with his parents) and see if the infection heals naturally. Of course, in some cases antibiotics is needed without a doubt. Children between the ages of 6 to 24 months with infection in both ears, children with severe symptoms and/or high fever (more than 39 degrees Celsius) and children with a ruptured ear drum should all be treated with antibiotics, according to the guidelines.

Not every child should get antibiotics for ear infections

Although the guidelines are important and give excellent advice, some professionals argue that each child should be treated differently. In their opinion, every parent should try different ways to deal with the ear infections, and not give the child antibiotics immediately. To be on the safe side, Parents can get the prescription for the antibiotics but wait for a day or two and see how the child is feeling. In these days, the child can be given painkillers or treated by alternative means. Sometimes, the ear infection will heal by itself and the child will feel better without the antibiotics.

Many parents get confused by the different advice and the conflicting conclusions of studies published by the media. To resolve this confusion, the best 2 recommendations are: (1) to refer to a doctor who will diagnose the child (2) Each child reacts differently to ear infections and ear pain, so get to know your child.

How to treat children’s ear infections?

Since parents are often confused by the different solutions and treatments, it is wise to read more and understand the available treatments. Parents should be aware of the symptoms of ear infections, the most common treatments and the available home remedies for ear infections and ear pain. There are many health portals with great articles on ear infections in their archives. among these, WebMD offers an extensive and detailed review of ear infections and ear pain.

The perfect treatment for ear infections

While many would search for this treatment, there are numerous answers to this search and there is no single answer which suits every child. Each child should be treated and diagnosed individually, with regard to their pain, reaction and former illnesses or medical conditions. When searching for the perfect solution for ear infections, always look for credentials or other people’s experience.

Every professional, every website and every discussion board will provide a different view on the perfect solution for ear infections. While some of them are harmless (herbal treatments or some medical devices) some of them are dangerous and should be avoided – using Q-tips to clean the ear and using a hairdryer to warm the ear are just some examples for such treatments.

In conclusion, When treating children’s ear infections extra caution should be taken. These days, where information is available easily and quickly, one should not ignore the professional advice, even if some websites would advise differently. Indeed, antibiotics should be handled with discretion but that does not mean they are the wrong treatment. In fact, Treating children’s ear infections will sometimes be a combination of alternative treatments and modern medicine.

What do you think? is there a perfect solution for children’s ear infections? let us know in the comments below.

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