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Ear Infections Statistic
More than 80 percent of children have had an ear infection by age three, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
*Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Pediatric Ear Infection Treatment

Until recently, all children with ear infections were routinely treated with antibiotics. But new research shows that most children will get better without those prescriptions, with no ill effects. This discovery has two benefits: it limits children’s exposure to antibiotics' side effects and it reduces the development of antibiotic-resistant infections. Your WellStar pediatrician might recommend this "observation option" if your child is more than two years old and does not have discharge from the ear.

If an antibiotic is offered, take the medicine completely as directed by your pediatrician. He or she may also suggest a non-aspirin pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to control your child's pain.

Ear Tube Surgery

Although most ear infections are easy to treat, some children will struggle with multiple ear infections that do not get better easily. These children might be candidates for ear tube surgery.

During this surgery, small drainage tubes are placed in one or both eardrums to keep the area behind the eardrum clear and keep the pressure equalized to the pressure in the middle ear.

This is one of the most common childhood operations. While the child is under general anesthesia, the surgeon cuts a small hole in the eardrum and inserts a small plastic tube in the opening.

Most tubing stays in place for six to 12 months and then typically falls out on its own. The hole then closes naturally within three to four weeks. In rare cases, a child might need the tubing put back in.

Adenoid Removal

This has been found to help some children who have repeat ear infections or fluid behind the eardrum. But doctors tend to suggest these surgeries only after tubes have failed to prevent repeat ear infections. Children younger than 4 don't usually have their adenoids taken out unless they have severe nasal blockage.