Otitis media (ear infection) can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Antibiotics are helpful only if the infection is caused by bacteria, but the pediatrician really has no way to tell whether the cause is viral or bacterial.
Because more and more people are becoming resistant to antibiotics, doctors have started waiting 2-3 before prescribing an antibiotic for a child’s ear infection. Studies have shown that most ear infections can clear up on their own.
If your child‘s ear infection persists or is severe, however, an antibiotic will likely be prescribed.
Careful doses of over-the-counter pain relief and warm (not hot) compresses on your child’s ear will help ease her discomfort until the ache passes. If symptoms worsen, contact your child’s healthcare provider.
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