For years, PSAs have reminded doctors and patients not to prescribe or take antibiotics for sinus infections, which are rarely caused by bacteria and so aren’t healed by antibiotics. Now, there’s a recommendation being made to end prescribing antibiotics for ear infections, too, except ear infections are commonly caused by bacteria (whether inner or outer). So why not treat them with antibiotics?

The answer is that it’s still contributing to antibiotic resistance. When you use antibiotics unnecessarily, as with the more obvious case of sinus infections, it contributes to the accumulation of antibiotic resistant bacteria (think MRSA, or antibiotic resistant pneumonia) which might not be apparent until the immune system is weakened (for MRSA, the opportunity could be as small as a break in the skin, or surgery). Ear infections are common, and can be beaten by the immune system without antibiotics, so to slow the growth of antibiotic resistance, you might soon be on your own when you have an ear infection.

2017, right on schedule of the predictions being made just 5 years ago (the “worst case scenario” timeline, actually) is the year the antibiotics are failing, massively. Bacteria are quickly sharing genes that make them antibiotic resistant, and hospitals, retirement homes, and other places where people with weakened immune systems gather are struggling to prevent and fight infections. (The key to success? Handwashing, and general hygiene practices).

So what can you do for ear infections?

Pain management is key. An ear infection is one of the most painful common illnesses (it’s right in your head and hard to ignore). Heat, either a hot pad/wash cloth or a hovering but not touching tea cup, helps a lot. Of course, so does over the counter pain relief. Sleeping propped up may be the only rest you get.

And sleep you should. Do everything you can to help get over it, especially if there’s no antibiotics to be had. Don’t let the pain keep you from other immune support like healthy eating, and exercise if you can manage it. For another boost, try colloidal silver immune support.

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