By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Ear infections are a major cause of pain and discomfort for children. The most common cause of ear symptoms in children is a middle ear infection and this is called otitis media.

For years the way we treated otitis media was almost a reflex — prescribe antibiotics. The reasons were clear: there was fever and discomfort for the child and even babies with ear infections often tug or rub at their ears. There are other symptoms in babies including: fussiness, inattentiveness, irritability and poor feeding are common.

As for the antibiotics, we have learned over the years that many cases are caused by viruses and antibiotics are not needed. In fact many grandmothers who come to the office with their grandchildren will ask “why not an antibiotic?”

In some cases we do need them but the opportunity to use fewer antibiotics is always welcome.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor

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