Unnecessary antibiotic use is a common practice, especially in pediatric medicine. Children with ear infections are often prescribed antibiotics, which often aren’t necessary. A recent analysis of 135 published studies found that most kids who see a doctor for ear infection do not need an antibiotic.

The review, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) determined that 80 percent of children with ear infections will get better on their own in about three days. When antibiotics are prescribed, this number only increases to 92 percent, but comes with many side effects—three in ten will develop a rash in reaction to the medication, five in ten more will get diarrhea, and an unpredictable number will be at risk of developing antibiotic resistance

Experts encourage doctors to give parents a “safety-net antibiotic prescription,” which is a prescription that parents take home and only use if the child does not improve after three days. This reduces the amount of office visits necessary (which can be one reason for parents to push early prescriptions), and reduces the number of children who take antibiotics unnecessarily.

I see so many people with digestive issues that stem from repeated antibiotic use as a child, and  I know how destructive that can be first hand. The long-term consequences of unnecessary antibiotics can wreak havoc on a person’s digestive system.  They did mine, and it took a long time (and the right supplements) for me to get back to vibrant health.  The more we know about safe ways to avoid antibiotics, the better. 

So the next time one of your little ones has an ear infection, talk to your doctor about a three-day safety-net antibiotic prescription. In the meantime, a bedtime dose of ibuprofen was recommended for best relief.

As always, when taking antibiotics, a probiotic should be taken (not within the same 2 hours) during and after, to help replenish the healthy gut bacteria that are depleted with antibiotic use.