If you had a sleepless night, kept up wondering if your son or daughter has an ear infection, updated guidelines could help you figure out what to do about it. Compared to the previous guidelines issued in 2004, the Academy of Pediatrics says, the new guidelines highlight more stringent criteria to use in making an accurate diagnosis which will enable clinicians to prescribe antibiotics most effectively in children ages 6 months through 12 years.
According to the new guidelines following a study led by researchers at the American Academy of Pediatrics, older children with earaches might be a good candidate for antibiotics if they have a history of frequent ear infections, a high fever (102.2 degrees or higher) lasting longer than two days and a bulging ear drum that could indicate possible infection. Without those symptoms, you don't have to panic and head right to the doctor for antibiotics.
"In older children over the age of two, no you don't have to panic," said pediatrician Dr. Russell Delaney at Lewis Gale Medical Center. The guidelines also talk about a period of watchful waiting. In an older child that is not running a high fever, that is not particularly ill, it is acceptable to treat symptoms with ibuprofen or acetaminophen for 48-72 hours even if an ear infection is diagnosed by the doctor."
Delaney tells us as far as treatment if you need an antibiotic, amoxicillin is still the first line of therapy for a first ear infection.
The evidence-based clinical guideline, "The Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media," published in the March 2013 Pediatrics, updates previous guidelines issued in 2004.