Ear infections are the most common reason parents bring their children to the doctor. They are also the #1 reason antibiotics are OVER prescribed.
Ear infections usually occur in the middle ear behind the eardrum. They may be caused by bacteria or by a virus. Doctors often treat bacterial infections with antibiotics. (Antibiotics are strong medicines that kill bacteria and also damage your gut)
Antibiotics can have side effects.
When children take antibiotics at the first sign of an ear infection, they are more likely to have vomiting, diarrhea, and allergic reactions because of the medicine. Also, antibiotics can disrupt their gut microbiome and cause other problems like diarrhea.
Infants and children sometimes do need antibiotics, but using antibiotics too often can be harmful. Here’s why:
In most cases, antibiotics are NOT needed..
- They do not work for ear infections caused by viruses.
- They do not help the pain.
- Usually, viral infections and many bacterial infections go away on their own in two to three days, especially in children who are over two years old.
Doctors usually can't tell if the ear infection is viral or bacterial so most just prescribe antibiotics for all ear infections.
Over-use of antibiotics is a problem.
Antibiotics can help drug-resistant bacteria grow. These bacteria are harder to kill. They can cause illnesses that are harder to cure and more costly to treat, which increases the risk of complications and side effects.
UNDERSTANDING EAR INFECTIONS:
Ear infections can affect the ear canal or the middle ear.