Physicians Advised To Delay Use of Antibiotics for Earaches to Deter Resistance
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC have developed new guidelines that advise physicians to delay prescription of antibiotics for two to three days for many children with earaches to help reduce antibiotic resistance, the Cox/Contra Costa Times reports. Physicians write about 10 million prescriptions for antibiotics each year for children with earaches, which accounts for almost half of all antibiotic use among preschool children. Most earaches are caused by viral, not bacterial, infections, and 81% heal without medication, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. According to the new guidelines, physicians should:
- Wait two to three days before they prescribe antibiotics for children older than six months without certain diagnosis of an ear infection;
- Prescribe antibiotics for children older than two years with ear infections for five days, rather than seven to 10 days;
- Immediately prescribe antibiotics for children younger than six months with earaches;
- Immediately prescribe antibiotics for children younger than two years with certain diagnosis of an ear infection; and
- Immediately prescribe antibiotics to children between six months and two years without certain diagnosis of an ear infection but with a fever higher than 102 degrees or severe ear pain.