When a child is in pain and crying, a loving parent wants nothing more than to make the pain go away. Ear infections can be very painful and often a parent will request antibiotics to treat the infection from their pediatrician or family doctor.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued new guidelines for identifying and treating childhood ear infections and would like to see fewer antibiotics prescribed.
The guidelines more clearly define the signs and symptoms that indicate an infection that needs treatment. They also encourage more observation, with follow-ups, instead of antibiotics. This would also include some children under the age of two. Most children with ear infections get well on their own and can be safely monitored for a few days.
For children with recurrent infections, the guidelines advise physicians and parents on when it is time to see a specialist.
"Between a more accurate diagnosis and the use of observation, we think we can greatly decrease the use of antibiotics," said the lead author of the new guidelines, Dr. Allan Lieberthal, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente Panorama City, in Los Angeles, and a clinical professor of pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
The guidelines say that there are definitely times when antibiotics should be prescribed such as when children have a severe ear infection. Severe is defined as when a child has either a fever of 102.2 degrees or higher or is in significant pain. He or she has a ruptured ear drum with drainage, or an infection in both ears for kids two years or younger. These account for fewer cases but studies have shown that children benefit from antibiotics given right away.
It's been since 2004 since the last set of guidelines were issued. Those guidelines stimulated new research that has provided evidence for the new AAP guidelines that will appear in the March issue of Pediatrics
There's a bit of a battle brewing among some scientific communities over whether organic vegetables & meats are healthier for kids (and adults) in the long run. The controversy revolves around whether the amount of synthetic pesticides used in conventional farming is unsafe for consumers, particularly children whose bodies are still developing.
For the first time the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) is weighing in on the subject. The AAP said in a recent report, that at least with some foods, buying organic is worth the effort to avoid pesticide residue. That position is contrary to a recent study, released by Stanford University, that suggested organic foods and meats offer no health advantages for consumers. The Stanford study did show that 38% of conventional produce tested contained pesticide residue compared with only 7% of organic produce. However, the study did not address whether government standards for safe amounts of pesticide residue were sufficient to avoid health problems.
The AAP is concerned because babies of female farm workers in California showed small but significant developmental and motor delays when their mothers were exposed to pesticides at levels similar to those deemed acceptable in conventionally grown produce while pregnant.
While no studies have been done to see if exposure to similar levels of pesticides from simply eating produce causes similar problems, early exposure to lead and other toxins even at low levels- is known to be harmful to children. The AAP believes that caution is advisable when considering conventionally grown produce.
"Clearly if you eat organic produce, you have fewer pesticides in your body," Joel Forman, an associate professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and a lead author of the new report, tells NPR's The Salt. That's particularly important for young children, he says, because they are especially vulnerable to chemical expo