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A member asked:

Does my baby need antibiotics if he has an ear infection?

4 doctor answers17 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gregg Alexander
Pediatrics 34 years experience
Not necessarily: Ear infections that aren't causing pain may clear without antibiotics (or the risks that antibiotics carry for allergic reactions, germ resistance building, diarrhea, etc.) See your pediatrician to determine whether an antibiotic is needed or if careful watching may be just as good - or better!
Dr. Pamela Lindor
Pediatrics 33 years experience
Probably: Most babies under age two with an ear infection need antibiotics as part of their treatment. There is a high rate of bacterial infection with ears, and if not treated, the infection can spread or damage the ear. Older children with mild symptoms can sometimes be managed without antibiotics. Ask you pediatrician if this is an option.
Dr. Prakash Bhoopalam
Pediatrics 44 years experience
Not necessarily.: If he is under 6 months i woul say yes.Older kids with mild symptoms need close follow up.
Dr. Helena Bentley
Pediatrics 40 years experience
Most ear infections are called by viruses, and therefore, no antibiotcs are needed. Even those that may be bacterial are mostly self-limiting. Based on the symptoms and the exam will help in determining whether or not your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.
Feb 5, 2012
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 47 years experience
Define "infection": The presence of middle ear fluid is a common finding in infancy and studies find as many as 40% have it for up to 3 months without invasion by germs. Some infants get a mild viral middle ear infection that self clears in about 3 days & no meds are needed. When the process involves germs that turn middle ear fluid to pus, which the doc can see on exam, it will need antibiotics.

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A 21-year-old member asked:

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Dr. Patrick Melder
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 28 years experience
Not always: Ear infections may resolve on their own, but it sure is more comfortable to be treated with antibiotics!

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Last updated Nov 5, 2019


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