What Does Observe Mean?

Ask your doctor if the observation option is appropriate for your child. It’s the best option for many children, even many of those with red hot ear infections.

In the absence of antibiotics, the child receives treatment tailored to her symptoms – especially toward relieving her pain. Pain relief is part of the observation option, especially for the first 24 hours. In addition, a responsible, available adult is needed to be able to take action if the child is getting worse or has not improved within 48 to 72 hours.

The doctor may ask the adult to call if there is a problem. Or a visit may be scheduled in 48 to 72 hours, in case the child isn’t improving. Or the doctor may call in 48 to 72 hours to check in over the phone. Or the doctor may give the child a SNAP at the initial visit – a Safety Net Antibiotic Prescription – to be filled if the child is getting worse or has not improved within 48 to 72 hours.

The observation option doesn’t leave the child to suffer. It just gives the body a chance to work at fighting off the infection before intervening with antibiotics, if necessary. I recommend choosing this option whenever it is appropriate.

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?

Published on: March 11, 2004
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
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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