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Antibiotics second choice for childhood earaches, academy says

Wednesday - 2/27/2013, 7:33am  ET

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Children older than 6 months shouldn't always get antibiotics as a first line of defense in ear infections, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced Monday. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - A child in pain with an earache is a pain for everyone, and most parents are ready and willing to give them antibiotics.

But a new study indicates that may not be the best idea.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said Monday that in some cases, children older than 6 months shouldn't be given antibiotics as a first method of fighting the infection, NBC News reports.

The reason is to "preserve the healing power of antibiotics by using them judiciously in kids who benefit most," Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, a pediatric otolaryngologist at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, tells NBC News.

Antibiotics should be given if the child has frequent ear infections, a fever above 102 degrees, pain for more than two days or a bulging ear drum.

In other cases, AAP advises giving children pain relievers first, based on their age -- but never aspirin, NBC reports.

The full study and guidelines can be read here.

WTOP's Veronica Robinson contributed to this report. Follow @VRobWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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