Moderation and prevention
Parents and doctors seem to be getting the message about the overuse of antibiotics. According to Kyle Yasuda, M.D., a pediatrician in Seattle, the challenge is deciding when to treat. If a child has a middle-ear infection and is mildly ill, a physician may decide to observe the child and not prescribe antibiotics.
The main thing, says Kemper, is to help your child have a healthy immune system. She recommends that you breastfeed your child for at least a year and don’t expose him to tobacco smoke. If your infant has a cold, feed him in an upright position; this may help prevent blocking of the tubes and accumulation of fluid in the inner ear. Bottles with special venting systems also may help by reducing pressure in the ears. Finally, a new study reported in Pediatrics suggests that restricting use of pacifiers in children older than 6 months can lower the risk of ear infections.