14 November 2017

Getting to the root of the problem before antibiotics Nicola Bailey, mum of twins, and senior compliance employee at Barclaycard in Canary Wharf

Nicola tells us why she is glad her daughter was not given antibiotics for her ear infection.

As a mum of twin girls, I am no stranger to juggling the needs of both, and experiencing double the impact if one is unwell.

Before my girls were even three years old, we have known that one of them, Maia had problems with her ears.

From the age of two, she was getting regular ear infections. They seemed to vary in intensity, from leaking fluid through to horrible pain.

It’s hard to see your child in pain. You want some really effective solutions to stop it – and fast.

It was also clear her ear problems were preventing her from hearing words correctly, so she was pronouncing some of them wrong. “Play” became “clay” for example.

A year ago, we took Maia to see our GP. Her ear was infected again, and this time it was leaking clear fluid. I knew Maia could feel a build-up of pressure. She was saying everything was louder and she felt like she was underwater.

Antibiotics seemed like the best option. Maia had taken them previously and they had briefly cleared up her symptoms. But after much deliberation, I knew it was better to figure out what the root of the problem was.

The antibiotics were just masking the issue, and taking more would not help.

Our GP agreed and we started some tests. It soon became clear that Maia’s regular ear infections and leaking ear were caused by a hole in her ear drum. She had glue ear – a build-up of fluid in the middle of her ear.

I was so relieved we had finally got to the bottom of it. We could now manage her symptoms with pain medication and, eventually, arrange for her to have small tubes to be inserted into her ear called grommets. These tubes help to drain the fluid from the ear.

Maia is perfectly fine now – she is as loud as ever and her speech is perfect.

I’m glad we didn’t ask for Maia to have antibiotics again, as we may have continued with the same problems. Antibiotics are not the only answer. Often, it is better to deal with the root of the issue.

Want to know more about how we think most middle ear infections should be treated? Read our news story about it. 

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