MED MINUTE: Kids & ear infections - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

MED MINUTE: Kids & ear infections

NATIONWIDE (WAOW) -- What should you do when your child gets an ear infection? It's hard to be sure, especially when even doctors don't agree. A new study looks for some answers. ABC's Doctor, Timothy Johnson now with our medical minute.

As every parent knows, ear infections are inseparable from childhood. They are the most common problem for which doctors write prescriptions for children, costing about $2.8 billion dollars a year. But whether antibiotics should be used for kids' ear infections is a matter of dispute.

Some say they're unnecessary and too expensive. A study by UCLA in the Journal of the American Medical Association is a review of previous studies. It finds that early use of antibiotics had only modest benefit. Most children get better without them, though the medication does speed recovery.

On the down side, antibiotics have side effects such as diarrhea and rash which make young patients feel worse. The study finds that if an antibiotic is used, the traditional Amoxicillin is preferred to more expensive alternatives, unless it isn't working or if the child has a penicillin allergy.

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