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Heal Ear Infections Faster

You know the drill: Your kid gets yet another ear infection, you bring him to the doctor, and you walk out with a prescription for an antibiotic.

Then for the next ten days, you're forced to bribe, cajole, and even beg him to swallow the stuff (“It tastes like a milk shake, I swear!”). What if we told you there was a way to lessen the drama? Researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton examined 49 studies involving more than 12,000 kids with ear infections and found that those who were on antibiotics for five to seven days had outcomes similar to those who were on the drugs longer. While kids on the shorter course of antibiotics had a slightly higher chance of a recurring infection—one in five compared to one in six—the standard ten-day treatment may not always be best. “The slight benefit of being on antibiotics longer may not outweigh the risk for antibiotic resistance,” says lead study author Anita Kozyrskyj, Ph.D. Plus, the longer a child is on the drug, the greater the chance he or she will experience side effects. Ask your pediatrician if a shorter course might be right for your child.