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Thursday 27th October 2016

Childhood ear infections warning

23rd February 2009

Deafness Research UK has warned that the use of antibiotics to treat ear infections could affect the health of children in Britain.


The charity said the routine use of antibiotics often did not work. As a result a child's hearing could be compromised and they might go on to have developmental difficulties.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence released a report in 2008 which said that up to 200,000 children have repeated middle ear infections (also known as "glue ear") every year.

Dr Ian Williamson, a senior lecturer in general practice at Southampton University, said doctors were over-reliant on the use of antibiotics.

He said: "Ear conditions and their root causes are not necessarily best tackled by antibiotics."

He added that time constraints within the health service, and the public misconception  that antibiotics could cure everything, meant many families were not getting the right kind of advice on how to treat the condition.

Dr Williamson wants the NHS to adopt a more "holistic approach" so that children who have repeat infections can be treated by alternative methods, such as "grommets" to drain fluid from the middle ear.

Vivienne Michael, chief executive of Deafness Research UK, said: "It is important parents should be aware that antibiotics only help a small proportion of children with ear infections, and are not recommended at all in the treatment of glue ear."


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