A couple of months ago, Sylvia had a really bad fever--like 103.5 degrees. Needless to say, it was very worrisome and, since it (predictably) happened on a weekend (oh, yeah, and since the doctor our oh-so-intelligent insurance company assigned her to isn't actually a pediatrician), we took her to an urgent care center to see a doctor. Over the course of the hour or so it took for us to be seen, Sylvia's temperature dropped to less than 100, so by the time we saw the doctor, I was feeling rather sheepish about having her there.
But no need to worry--the doctor took Sylvia's former temperature seriously, checked her thoroughly, diagnosed an ear infection, and sent us on our way with a prescription for antibiotics and a bottle of bubble solution.
The paperwork given along with the prescription said that something like 2/3 of ear infections are caused by a virus, which said to us there was a 2/3 chance the antibiotics wouldn't do anything, so we decided to wait and see if Sylvia got better on her own before filling the prescription. In our case, that was the right thing to do--Sylvia was better by Monday and has been none the worse for wear.
I found it odd, though, that the doctor didn't suggest we wait a few days to see if Sylvia would get better on her own. Apparently, given the quantity of antibiotics prescribed for ear infections very few doctors tell people to wait it out, or very few people listen to that advice. As grateful as I am to have antibiotics, it bothers me a bit we use them so freely, given their expense and the possible complications they can produce in the form of antibiotic-resistant microbes.