2004 AAP Guidelines for Treating Ear Infections

What do the new guidelines recommend?

1. Accurately diagnosing acute otitis media and differentiating it from otitis media with effusion -- middle ear fluid -- which requires different management.

2. Relieving pain, especially in the first 24 hours, with ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

3. Minimizing antibiotic side effects by giving parents of select children the option of fighting the infection on their own for 48 to 72 hours and then starting antibiotics if they do not improve.

4. Prescribing initial antibiotics for children who are likely to benefit the most from treatment.

5. Encouraging families to prevent acute otitis media by reducing risk factors. For babies and infants, this includes breastfeeding for at least six months, avoiding "bottle propping" and eliminating exposure to passive tobacco smoke.

6. If antibiotic treatment is agreed upon, the clinician should prescribe amoxicillin for most children.

Learn more at the American Academy of Pediatrics Website.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics Press Release, March 9, 2004

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