Does your child have an earache?

As a parent, you want to take the pain away. But will an antibiotic help?


  • Earaches in children can be caused by either bacteria or viruses.
  • Not all earaches need antibiotics.
  • Antibiotics are not effective in treating infections caused by viruses.
  • Earaches caused by bacteria often go away on their own.


  • Manage pain. Ask a healthcare provider such as a pharmacist to recommend ways to reduce pain, fever, and other symptoms.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you are concerned.
  • If your child does need antibiotics, take them as prescribed.

Taking antibiotics when they are not needed can lead to antibiotic resistance, increasing the risk that antibiotics may not work when your child or someone else in your family really needs them.

To learn more about antibiotic resistance and what you can do, visit:

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Date published: 2015-11-12
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