The Importance of Watchful Waiting for Ear Infections

No parent likes it when their child is sick but with back to school and flu season approaching, it is inevitable. As parents our inclination is to do whatever we can to make our children feel better as fast as possible. However, with ear infections the best approach is often watchful waiting and not prescribing antibiotics immediately.

According to Harvard Medical School: Acute ear infections are the most common infection for which antibiotics are prescribed to children. However, roughly 80 percent of children with acute ear infections get better without antibiotic treatment.

The American Academy of Pediatrics updated their clinical practice guidelines on The Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media in 2013. The updated guidelines recommend additional observation, or “watchful waiting” for a period of 2 to 3 days after the onset of an ear infection prior to prescribing antibiotics for most children over 2 years old. This change was made because only a 6% chance of improvement was seen between most children who were given antibiotics and those who were not.

While avoiding unnecessary antibiotics is a very good thing, those 2 to 3 days of waiting can be tough. By using our Oto device and accompanying opinion service, you can send follow up videos of your child’s ear to our on-call doctors to see immediately if your child needs to go in to get antibiotics or if the infection is clearing up on its own. 

Families interested in learning more about the Oto can visit or contact us at (888)930-6940.  We are all ears!

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