Prevention Magazine (Internet / Print) January 2006 (no direct weblink available) The routine use of antibiotics for ear infections is a bad idea. In a head-to-head comparison researchers treated 223 children, ages 6 months to 12 years, with either antibiotics or watchful waiting. Among the kids age 2 and older, the scientists found nearly identical cure rates: 76% of those in the watch-and-wait group were better at a checkup on day 30, compared with 77% in the antibiotics group. Kids who weren’t given bacteria-fighting drugs did need a pain reliever (ibuprofen or acetaminophen) about twice as often as those on antibiotics. But, says Tasnee Chonmaitree, M.D., a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, “the watchful-waiting group didn’t miss more work; and parents in both groups were equally satisfied.”