A new health recommendation says no more antibiotics for ear infections and parents shouldn’t give pain relief to reduce a fever.

News.com.au reports, in a decision that will be confronting for many parents who have suffered through a screaming child with pain from an ear infection, the new recommendation is totally against routine use of antibiotics for ear pain in kids aged two — 12.

“Regardless of whether one or both eardrums are red or bulging, antibiotics do not reduce pain at 24 hours,” the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners says.

Instead, parents should use paracetamol or ibuprofen to control the pain, antibiotics should only be given if the child has a fever, is vomiting or lethargic says the Royal Australian College General Practitioners’ president Dr Frank Jones.

Parents may also be shocked to hear a recommendation by the Australian College of Nursing not to give kids paracetamol or ibuprofen to bring down their temperature when they are ill.

“The benefits of fever in slowing the growth and replication of bacteria and viruses are well documented,” says the Australian College of Nursing.

Medicine should only be used to reduce fever if the child is uncomfortable or distressed the college says.

The Choosing Wisely campaign also calls for the practice of prescribing antibiotics to infants with a fever to stop because it is not only ‘low value’ but “can be dangerous, in delaying presentation to hospital by inappropriately reassuring patients”.

One in 14 kids have side effects from antibiotics and their overuse is fuelling the rise of antibiotic resistant infections.

Australian Medical Association president Professor Brian Owler said the Choosing Wisely campaign acknowledged the role of doctors as stewards of the health system.

“We’ve looked at the evidence and come up with recommendations that certain practices are not providing the best value,” he said.

Do you agree with this recommendation?

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  • Agree – my kids had to be screaming before they got a pill – they survived well without very many at all.


  • I am not a mama yet so I have nothing to add about parenting but I do know that overuse of antibiotics will cause our bodies to build up an immunity so it makes sense to only use this approach in emergency situations


  • Im not prepared to make a hard comment about the antibiotics, as a lay person I would think that an infection requires them but as for not diving for the panadol etc when your child has a fever? All for it. For me personally, the first port of call is a tepid bath or using a wet washer to soothe their neck, forehead and tummy. Very rarely has my 6yr old been given panadol, but in saying this, having tried these methods and my son still having a high temp…you can bet the panadol makes an appearance ☺


  • Totally agree with this and only give medication when really needed


  • I only ever had anti biotics for my kids due to infection and pain relief was only given for pain, not to reduce fever. My sister in law over used medication for herself and her 2 kids, now all 3 are addicted to prescription drugs.


  • I’m all for not giving medication unless it’s necessary. As long as the child isn’t in horrible pain of course.


  • I agree with the recommendations about not using antibiotics. Not so sure about cutting pain relief.


  • Ear pain can be a very painful infection. It can lead to puss draining out onto a toddler’s pillow. In some babies through to school age an inner ear infection can cause convulsions during which time a child can injure themselves. I know of two little babies through to school age have had inner ear infections and suffered really severe convulsions. One who was only a baby at the time actually stopped breathing a few times and had to rescucitated. On one occasion the Police attended too. Both had high temperatures that didn’t respond to medication at all. Both were taken to GPs prior to the convulsions and had checkups. A Dr. or ENT cannot see as far in far enough to see an Inner ear infection. Both were diagnosed by MRI Scans. The elder child was diagnosed with non Epileptic Seizures. The children were not relatives at all and lived on opposites of the city.


  • Good! People have no common sense anymore and are so worried about a few germs, and little bit of pain that they baby their kids to a ridiculous amount. Yes, it should be on the doctors to not hand out antibiotics to every kid they see. It is also up to the parents to not drown their kids with painkillers every time they have a little pain. How will kids cope later in life? Hypochondriacs!


  • I actually agree. Too many antibiotics are unnecessarily given to kids. I agree about avoiding paracetamol with fever too. If it’s possible and the fever is not too high, better that the child gets rid of it by himself.


  • Really? I understand limiting paracetamol to when the child is distressed, but the \’no antibiotics for ear infections\’ is taking me a while to get around. I have one child that had grommets when he was 4 and had no issues for years, but now is suffering recurrent ear infections again. He is on yet another dose of antibiotics and ear drops right now. He has seen an ear, nose, and throat specialist too. I guess it might be an individual thing – if it clears up without antibiotics, well and good. If not……


  • Lke gs


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