Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antibiotics Not Always Beneficial For Childhood Ear Infections

Date:
October 11, 2002
Source:
University Of Virginia Health System
Summary:
More children are treated in the U.S. with antibiotics for inflammation of the middle ear, or otitis media, than any other child health problem. More than five million cases are diagnosed every year. But now, a scholarly review of over one hundred studies by a U.Va. pediatrician concludes that antibiotics help only one in eight children with ear infections.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., October 10 – More children are treated in the U.S. with antibiotics for inflammation of the middle ear, or otitis media, than any other child health problem. More than five million cases are diagnosed every year. But now, a scholarly review of over one hundred studies by a U.Va. pediatrician concludes that antibiotics help only one in eight children with ear infections.

Related Articles


Dr. J. Owen Hendley, professor of pediatrics and a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases, writes in the Oct. 10 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine that placebo-controlled trials found ear infections had gone away in one week in 81 percent of placebo recipients, as compared with 94 percent of antibiotic recipients. Hendley says there is a clear downside to the use of antibiotics to treat common ear infections. "The bacteria which cause ear infections learn quickly to be resistant to antibiotics. At some point we're going to run out of drugs to treat the problem," he says. "Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem in this country. The practice of treating eight children to help the one who needs antibiotics just makes it worse."

When they diagnose an ear infection, doctors should hold off giving antibiotics for 48 to 72 hours, Hendley advises, because the infection can clear up spontaneously. The pain and irritability that accompany ear infections should be treated with children's acetaminophen, ibuprofen or other pain relievers. Hendley, however, found that an antibiotic, such as amoxicillin, is recommended for a less common ear infection, bacterial otitis media or "pus drum", characterized by bulging eardrums and visible pus.

In addition, Hendley's review sheds light on the increasing use of tympanostomy tubes in the eardrum to help drain fluid from the middle ear in children with recurrent ear infections, usually three or four episodes within six months. Hendley says there is no benefit to children unless they suffer from more severe bacterial otitis. Often, he says, the fluid goes away on its own. The review also found that giving children a flu shot can reduce the likelihood of otitis by 30 percent, but the benefit only lasts during flu season, about six weeks out of the year. For more information on Hendley's article visit the New England Journal of Medicine's website at http://www.nejm.org.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Virginia Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Virginia Health System. "Antibiotics Not Always Beneficial For Childhood Ear Infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021011071506.htm>.
University Of Virginia Health System. (2002, October 11). Antibiotics Not Always Beneficial For Childhood Ear Infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021011071506.htm
University Of Virginia Health System. "Antibiotics Not Always Beneficial For Childhood Ear Infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021011071506.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins