Myth 2: More care is better care.
When it comes to medical care, you really can have too much of a good thing. Take, for example, the routine use of antibiotics to treat sudden infections of the middle ear (acute otitis media). This condition is the most common reason antibiotics are prescribed for children in the U.S. And yet most ear infections in children will safely clear up on their own within a few days without antibiotic treatment. Treatment for pain relief may be all that is necessary. Antibiotics may be given if symptoms worsen.
Such so-called watchful waiting is good idea, because even something as safe as antibiotics can cause their own set of complications—including chronic ear infection with highly drug-resistant bacteria or diarrhea so severe that hospitalization is required. Indeed, watchful waiting of otherwise healthy children aged six months and up with acute ear infections is one of the options recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. And yet, a 2010 review of prescribing data showed that it is very hard to get physicians to change their habits or parents to accept the idea that it pays to delay antibiotic treatment of acute ear infections.
Credit: Laparoscopic Surgery Robot, Nimur/Wikimedia Commons