The Bottom Line: How well Does Observation Work?

The Bottom Line: How well Does Observation Work?

Investigators have compared matched children with acute, red hot ear infections who were treated initially with observation (including earache relief) and those who were treated initially with antibiotics. How did the two groups fare? I’d rather be treated with observation! The two groups felt the same as each other after 24 hours, and again after 2-3 days, and 4-7 days.

The same percentage in both groups were over their ear infections after 7-14 days. Persistent fluid in the ear was the same in both groups. Pain duration was the same in both groups, although those in the observation group were more likely to get pain medicine. Fevers lasted, on average, a day less in those who started with antibiotics. The risk of spreading bacterial infection or bacterial complications was statistically the same in both groups, although the numbers were too small to see a real difference. The trend, though, was more than 3 times as many spreading or complicated infections in those who got antibiotics. And, of course, those who got antibiotics were also far more likely to develop nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rashes, and other antibiotic side effects – all the while selectively breeding more resistant bacteria in that particular child, and in the environment. Whenever it’s appropriate to treat with pain relief rather than antibiotics, the choice is clear: No contest.

Follow the links below to read the entire story.
Revolution in Ear Infection Treatment
Focus on Pain
The Antibiotic Hoax
The Diagnosis Secret
One Thing is Certain
Vanilla Ear Infections/Red Hot Infections
Who Should Get Antibiotics?
What Does Observe Mean?
The Bottom Line: How well Does Observation Work?

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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