Antibiotics for Middle Ear Infection
How Well It Works
Antibiotics are effective in most cases of ear infections caused by bacteria. But only 1 out of 5 children with ear infections needs antibiotics to clear an ear infection. In 4 out of 5 children, ear infections clear on their own.Reference 1
A child with an ear infection should feel better within 48 hours after taking antibiotics. If your child doesn't feel better, call your doctor. Your child may need a different antibiotic.
Some doctors suggest antibiotics for children who don't have symptoms but are prone to repeat ear infections. Studies show that this preventive method doesn't always work.Reference 1 Taking antibiotics when they may not be needed can lead to new types of bacteria that can't be killed (Reference antibiotic-resistant bacteria Opens New Window). This means that children may not respond to an antibiotic when they really need it, such as if they get pneumonia.
Antibiotics may help with fluid behind the eardrum that won't go away (chronic otitis media with effusion). But the fluid may return.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: September 10, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology