Most children experience some ear infections in the early years of their life. For some children, they seem to appear often as often as the next rent or mortgage payment. Ear infections are the most frequent for children aged three months up to four years of age. While ear infections can cause temporary discomfort and pain it is a given that your child will eventually outgrow the condition.
Ear Infection Causes
Ear infections are usually the result of an upper respiratory disease like a common cold. The cold can cause swelling and mucus accumulation in the throat, sinuses and the two narrow tubes which link the middle ear with at the rear of your throat and behind that nasal passageway. If these tubes become blocked, fluid can get stuck in the middle ear, and your child will develop an infection in the ear.
Children in the early years are more prone to ear infections because their eustachian tube is shorter and oriented horizontally, which is not optimal for drainage. The tubes are more prone to getting blocked, leading to an ear infection.
Fortunately, as children get older and develop, their eustachian tubes grow longer and their position will change so that they’re better in getting rid of fluid. This makes ear infections less likely.
Signs and Symptoms
For children 2 years old or less, recognizing an ear infection could be difficult. Infants and toddlers do not yet have the vocabulary to describe what’s wrong or what causes. A child who has an ear infection is likely to be suffering from a cold, and may be more irritable than the average.
Your child might cry frequently, particularly in a position that is flat. Also sleeping patterns of your child might be disturbed.
Keep track of your child’s temperature every day during times of illness. Most children experience fevers during in the first few days after a cold, however, if your child experiences an unrelenting fever that lasts for more than a few weeks or which returns after having first broken, an infection is definitely a possibility.
Many parents believe that ear pull could be a sign for an ear problem but that isn’t true. Your child could be pulling at an ears for other reasons.
Treatment Benefits and Risks
Doctors were able to deal with any ear infection by using antibiotics. But since research has proven that antibiotics overuse can be more harmful than beneficial doctors take an approach that is more cautious.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following treatments based on evidence:
Children under 1 year old Antibiotics should be administered as soon as you are diagnosed.
Between 1 and 2 years old From 1 to 2 years old: For the majority of children of this stage, taking antibiotics is advised. However, your doctor might recommend waiting for at least 48 hours to determine whether the ear problem goes away completely by itself. The doctor is likely to give an antibiotic prescription that you can begin taking in the event that symptoms don’t appear to be improving or becoming worse.
Ages 2 and above The observational management of the first 48 hours is generally recommended since the majority of cases of ear infections resolve all on their own. This kind of treatment is recommended especially for children who do not have a fever or no past history of repeated Ear infections.
To alleviate the pain of an ear infection you can administer over-the-counter pain medications like Ibuprofen (Motrin). Motrin is especially effective in treating the symptoms of an ear infection because it offers longer relief from pain (approximately 6-8 hours) and is also anti-inflammatory (reducing the swelling of the middle ear and sinuses regions). If your child doesn’t appear to be getting better within 48 days, is experiencing an increase in pain, or develops a new fever, consult your doctor immediately. The doctor will usually recommend antibiotics.
Treatment for Recurring Ear Infections
Certain children suffer from frequent Ear infections, which can be as high as three or four infections in a single season. In this case your child might need consult a specialist in the ear throat, nose, or (ENT) especially when they’re less than 2 years older. A ENT will provide professional advice regarding whether placing tubes inside their ear canals could aid in preventing further infection of the ear.
The tubes allow fluid to flow out of the middle ear to the ear canal with greater ease. With a healthier and drier middle ear it means that the viruses and bacteria which can cause ear infections are less of a chance expand. Additionally tubes will keep fluid from accumulating and the sensation of discomfort and pressure in the ear. Additionally, they can aid in addressing any hearing problems.
A ENT introduces tubes via a small surgical hole that is created inside the eardrums of both. Although the procedure is generally performed under general anesthesia, it’s a straightforward outpatient procedure that can take between 10 and 20 mins.
The majority of children experience little pain and quickly recover after operation.
The tubes usually remain in place and perform effectively for between six months and one year. Then, usually are released by themselves.
It is possible to change the tubes in your ear if your child is still suffering from an infection in the ear. But when the tubes are removed, your child could have gotten over the ear infections.
Preventing Ear Infections
Ear infections are normal for an infant and if your child suffers from them frequently tubes may help. Because ear infections tend to be caused by a child’s anatomy, there are no treatments at home or medications that can stop your child from suffering from Ear infections.
There are two factors that could assist. One is to prevent exposure to smoke from secondhand sources. Research has found that smoking secondhand cigarettes can cause weakening natural immunity. Another reason is that breastfeeding infants can receive an additional dose of antibodies via breast milk which helps in fighting off diseases.