Watchful Waiting with Acute Otitis Media

Your child was seen today and found to have a middle ear infection, known as acute otitis media. Many ear infections resolve on their own, and therefore your physician may suggest watching and waiting for two to three days to see if your child needs an antibiotic. Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics to avoid their side effects.

To Do:

  • Rest - drink water and fluids.
  • Your child may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) for pain as directed on the dosing instructions.
  • If your child does not feel better in two to three days, call your physician to discuss a recheck and possible antibiotics.

Please call your physician or return to the emergency department immediately if your child is confused, not drinking fluids for more than six hours, develops a fever of 101.4 F (38 C) or higher despite medication, has fluid draining from their ear, or has other concerning or worsening symptoms.

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