It may now be possible to cure a common ear infection for children with just one dose of an antibiotic gel. Could this be the answer to the long-existing ear problem among children?
According to MedLine Plus, "Otitis media," commonly known as middle-ear infection, is caused by swelling and infection of the middle ear located just behind the eardrum. These infections are common among infants and children since the "eustachian tube" can be easily clogged. These tubes are responsible for draining fluids made in the ear and if it gets blocked, this may lead to an ear infection since more fluids build up in the area.
The most common symptoms of the middle-ear infection include pain in the ear accompanied by fever and difficulty in sleeping. The infection usually heals on its own but in some cases, health care providers prescribe antibiotics for children, especially those aged six years old and below. These antibiotics, however, causes side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarhea.
But according to a pre-clinical study, a new gel is found to bring cure to this infection with just a single dose. This treatment is equavalent to a full course of antibiotic routine and medicine.
In an interview with NDTV, chemical engineer at Boston Children's Hospitals in Massachusets, Dr. Rong Yang, mentioned that for antibiotics to work for ear infections, "you have to treat the entire body repeatedly just to get to the middle ear."
The new found gel eases the process as it requires an easy squirtion to the ear canal. Once administered, the gel hardens and spreads out antibiotics from the ear drum which then goes into the middle ear.
This is made possible by the chemical permeation enhancers (CPEs) present in the bio-engineered hydrogel, which allows teh substance to get past the impenetrable ear drum. CPEs open up pores by inserting themselves into the membrane, allowing antibiotics to seep through.
The researchers also concluded in their study published in the scientific journal Science Translational Medicine, that their hydrogel will improve the administration of antibiotics, minimize side effects and possibly decrease the development of antibiotic resistance among those suffering from ear infections.