Do ear infections require antibiotics?

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When an ear infection is caused by a virus, antibiotic treatment will not help it get better. Ear infections will often get better on their own without antibiotic treatment. Your healthcare provider will determine what treatment is best for you. Each time you take an antibiotic, the bacteria that normally live in your body (on the skin, in the intestine, in the mouth and nose, etc.) are more likely to become resistant to antibiotics. Common antibiotics cannot kill infections caused by these resistant germs. If symptoms continue to last for more than one month for otitis media with effusion (OME) or 2 days for acute otitis media (AOM), you should schedule a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will consider several factors when determining if antibiotics are needed for you or your child: age, severity of illness, diagnostic certainty, and follow-up options. Your healthcare provider may decide to wait a couple of days before prescribing antibiotics since you or your child may get better without them.

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Continue Learning about Ear Disorders

Ear Disorders

Ear Disorders

Your ear is a complex organ composed of the outer, middle and inner ear (as well as fluid). Any disorder involving your ear -- ear infections, tinnitus, Meniere's disease -- can affect either your hearing or your balance. Treatmen...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.