Stories about: antibiotics

Shades of gray: Why medicine isn’t always as clear-cut as we’d like

Claire McCarthy, MD

Recently I wrote a blog about how the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks that otherwise healthy children with ear infections should wait a couple of days before starting antibiotics, because many will get better without them.

Now there are two articles in the New England Journal of Medicine (here and here) saying that children with ear infections who are given antibiotics are more likely to get better, and to get better quickly, than those who aren’t.

Awkward.

Read Full Story

Giving antibiotics too soon can be a real pain in the ear

Claire McCarthy, MD

Your 3-year-old is cranky, has a little fever, and is telling you that his ear hurts. Time to call the doctor and go get a prescription for antibiotics, right?

Well, maybe not.

It turns out the most ear infections get better all by themselves, without antibiotics. We’ve known this for a while. In fact, way back in 2004 the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a clinical practice guideline for the treatment of ear infections, saying that for generally healthy children over the age of 6 months who don’t have severe infections, it’s a good idea to wait 48 to 72 hours before starting antibiotics. By then, most children will be better and won’t need them anymore.

Read Full Story

Lyme disease: What parents should know

family bikingAlong with longer, sun-filled days, the arrival of summer ushers in some seasonal hazards for kids, like tick bites. Although most tick bites don’t cause serious illness, those from the blacklegged tick (often called the deer tick) can, in some cases, cause Lyme disease. Particularly when detected early, Lyme disease is usually successfully treated with antibiotics. Follow these tips from Children’s Hospital Boston’s infectious disease expert Catherine Lachenauer, MD, to minimize your child’s risk of Lyme disease.

Read Full Story