Antibiotics for ear infections?

Antibiotics for ear infections

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Last updated:
04/10/2021

If your child has an ear infection, your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics. A quick Internet search for “antibiotics for ear infections” turns up sites that encourage you to push back on your doctor’s prescription. But if you want to make sure the antibiotics are working, read on…

What’s best for your child?

When it comes to taking antibiotics when they’re not needed, giving them in a liquid suspension can be a good option. Giving them as a syrup or tablet may increase the risk of side effects such as diarrhea and thrush (yeast infection in the mouth).

What other treatments might help? What can I do for my child’s ear infection?

Giving your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen when an ear infection begins can help reduce the pain and fever. It may also help speed healing. A hot pack (or warm compress) may also ease pain and fever, because it brings blood to the skin’s surface. However, you should not use either of these treatments if there is a possibility of meningitis with your child’s ear infection (see below).

What are the side effects of taking antibiotics?

Antibiotics can cause side effects, such as diarrhea and thrush (yeast infection in the mouth). They may also increase your child’s risk of developing food allergies. However, the benefit of taking antibiotics when they’re needed usually outweighs their side effects.

Taking antibiotics when they’re not needed can make it hard for these medicines to work the next time your child really does need them. If you’re still not sure what to do, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about your concerns. As always, don’t give your child any more medicine than the package directions call for.

Before you decide to use antibiotics for a child’s ear infection. Try our interactive tool to help you make your decision. Should I Give My Child Antibiotics?