Doctors seem to throw their fiercest antimicrobial weapons at earaches (see Q & A, p 7), but to no avail, so the latest idea is to fight fire with fire (BMJ, 2001; 322: 210-2).
Instead of using a drug to cure earaches, they decided to infect the offending ear with yet more bacteria. Not ordinary bacteria, mind you, but a special ‘interfering’ type of steptococci, which crowds out the bad variety.
The reason children don’t have much of these good guy bacteria may have something to do with the complete pasting they’ve probably received from antibiotics recently.
But, as the BMJ acknowledges, shooting streptococci up the nostrils of children in hopes that they will make their way to the ear and take up permanent residence there is largely a case of medical damage limitation.
Out of the noses of babes. . .