As promised, my friend Jordyn Redwood, ER nurse and writer extraordinaire is going to be posting common medical Q & A’s on my blog twice every month. I’m superexcited about this and think it will not only be a ton of fun but it will also be really informative. So, a huge thank you to Jordyn! And, if you want to know more about her, Jordyn is not only a novelist with a book coming out from Kregel in a few months, but she’s also a blogger who writes a superfun blog called “Redwood’s Medical Edge” where she discusses now novelists approach medical issues in their books. Check it out here.
Last week, Jordyn asked my users for their own medical-related questions. Here’s one from Jennifer:
“Ear infections. It seems like I’m heading to the doctor every other day when my kids complain of ear pain… and half the time, they don’t have infections. But then, the other day, my 3-year-old was complaining and I ignored it (after 2 false alarms) and her ear drum ruptured. So, I guess my question is this: Is there any sure way to tell at home if it’s really an ear infection or just ear pain? And, does it hurt to just give my kids some Motrin and wait it out if I suspect an ear infection?”
Thanks so much for leaving a question!
The only way to really determine if it is an ear infection is to look at the ear drum. This requires direct visualization by a medical provider.
The second part of your question is interesting. Ear infections can be caused either by a virus or a bacteria. The concern is treating a viral ear infection with antibiotics and this contributing to strains of bacteria that become resistant—which we don’t want to do.
Some doctors are taking the watch and wait approach and prescribing an ear analgesic (Auralgan) and ibuprofen for pain control but seeing if the infection will clear without antibiotics.
I do think it’s worth having that type of conversation with your pediatrician.
You might find this article on waiting vs. treating link helpful.
Jordyn Redwood has served the pediatric population and their families for many years. She has five years of experience in the pediatric ICU and ten years of pediatric ER nursing which is the area she currently works. Jordyn also teaches CPR and advanced resuscitation courses.
Disclaimer: Remember, these posts are for education and discussion. If your child is sick and you think they require medical attention, take them to their pediatrician or local emergency department.