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Guidelines to Treat Childrens Ear Infections Changing

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Kim Mulvihill reporting Parents be forewarned: your pediatrician could stop prescribing antibiotics for your child's ear infection.

This dramatic change is certainly bound to frustrate, even worry some parents.

We've been slowly moving toward this.

Top health experts behind these new guidelines believe the changes are a crucial trade-off - - when it comes to slowing the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

As many as six million children under the age of five suffer painful ear infections every year. The infections usually occur as a complication from a cold, allergies, or an upper respiratory infection.

Here's what happens. Viruses or bacteria from the throat travel up to the middle ear thru the Eustachian tube. The tube in children is shorter and less slanted than adults, and allow bacteria and viruses to travel more easily to the inner part of the ear. The tube becomes inflamed and blocked. The buildup of fluid in the middle Ear can cause severe pain, swelling and redness.

To treat these infections, doctors typically prescribe antibiotics. But that Practice may soon change -- thanks to the ever-growing concern over antibiotic resistant bacteria.

These superbugs are a major public heath problem. This spring, two major medical groups are expected to recommend new guidelines -- even in some cases where the infections are caused by bacteria.

The guidelines from the American academy of pediatrics and the American academy of family physicians include the following: Doctors would continue to prescribe antibiotics to infants and toddlers. However, children over age two would only get antibiotics for a severe infection. That means a fever of at least one hundred and two point six degrees or severe ear pain.

For all other children? The game plan is watchful waiting. They would simply Be observed for one to three days.

Studies show most children - up to eighty percent - recover in two to seven days .... without antibiotics.

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