Your doctor may prescribe one or more medications. Make sure to take all medications as directed and keep any scheduled follow-up visits. Although antibiotics may take away the earache rapidly, the infection still may need more time to go away, so be sure to complete the entire course of medication.

More than 30 million prescriptions are written each year for ear infections, accounting for 25% of all antibiotics prescribed in the United States. However, antibiotics are not effective against viral ear infections (30-50% of such disorders), may cause uncomfortable side effects such as upset stomach, and can contribute to antibiotic resistance. Medical researchers believe that 25% of all pneumococcus strains, the most common bacterial cause of ear infections, are resistant to penicillin, and 10-20% are resistant to amoxicillin.

Other medications that your doctor may prescribe include an antihistamine for allergies, a decongestant (especially with a cold), or both. Sometimes the doctor may recommend a medication to reduce fever and/or pain. Analgesic ear drops can also ease the pain of an earache. We often test the patient for allergies to see if other therapies may help.

Call your doctor if you have any questions about your child’s medication or if symptoms do not go away.

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