Pediatric Ear Infections and Antibiotics
When you child has an ear infection, a very common childhood problem, doctors tend to be quick to prescribe antibiotics, even though their own highly respected professional association said nearly a decade ago that it’s acceptable to withhold antibiotics initially.
In 2004, the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Family Physicians published clinical guidelines stating that observation without initial antibiotic therapy was accepted as an option for acute otitis media (AOM) management. Yet, a recent study found that even with the option of treating otitis media (middle ear infection, usually experienced by children) without antibiotics, medical doctors still prescribed antibiotics about as often as they did before the new guideline went into effect.
The overuse of antibiotics has given rise to multi-drug-resistant bacteria or “superbugs”. Each year these superbugs are responsible for 400,000 infections, 2.5 million hospital days and 25,000 deaths in Europe alone. The annual cost to the European economy (in U.S. dollars) works out to about $1.3 billion dollars a year in hospital stays and another $900 million in lost productivity.
And yet, according to this study, medical doctors still feel the need to prescribe rather than observe and let the body heal itself.