Ear infection in children
An ear infection is an inflammation of the middle ear usually caused by Bacteria. Ear Infections are very common in children. Five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by their 3rd birthday. In fact, ear infections are the most common reason parents bring their children to a doctor. A common reason for frequent ear infections in children is their Eustachian tubes are smaller and more level in children compared to adults. The scientific name of ear infection is otitis media. Earache is very painful and the child cries a lot. Common symptoms are tugging or pulling the ear, fussiness or crying, fever, fluid draining from ear or trouble in hearing. If not treated, the infection can result in ear discharge. Prolonged ear infections can lead to deafness in children. The doctor should be consulted whenever there are any of these symptoms. Ear infections can be easily diagnosed by examination and can be well treated with appropriate medicines.
Symptoms of ear infection in children are:
· Fussing pain
· Ear pain that increases while lying down
· Tugging or pulling an ear
· Crying more than usual
· Trouble in sleeping
· Trouble in hearing or your child might feel trouble in responding to sounds
· High fever
· Drainage of fluid from the ear
· The Loss of appetite
There are some factors that are involved in increasing the risks of having ear infection such as:
· Children of age between 6 months to 2 years are more sensitive to ear infections. This is because of the size and shape of their Eustachian tube as their immune system is under development.
· Children who go to child care centres have high risks of getting fever and ear infections that children who stay at home.
· Infants who drink milk from bottles usually have more ear infections than the children who breast-fed.
· Ear infections can be seasonal as well. That is why it is more common in fall and winter. If your child has seasonal allergy then he will experience ear infection in these seasons when pollen count is high.
Ear infection more often occur due to other illnesses as flu, cold and allergy. It could be also due to virus or bacterium is ear.
The eustachian tube is basically a group of thin tubes that runs from each middle ear to the back end of your throat behind nasal passage. The end of tubes in throat open and close to:
· Refresh air in ear
· Circulate air pressure in middle air
· Drain normal secretions from ear
When the middle ear get swollen and blocked, the fluid build up and can be infected. This infected fluid causes ear infection.
In children these eustachian tubes are more narrow and horizontal than adults that makes it more difficult to drain fluid.
Ear infections can be treated without antibiotics. It depends on the severity and symptoms of infection what is best for your child.
Symptoms of ear infection get improve in a week and sometimes ear infection get clear up within 2 to 3 weeks on it’s own without any treatment. So wait and see is an optional recommended by Child physician.
Wait and see option is applicable if your child is 6 to 23 months old and has pain in one year for less than 48 hours.
If your child is 24 months and older and has pain in one or both ears with 102F temperature.
Antibiotics can sometimes help ear infection in certain children. On the contrary, bacteria can become resistant to medicine if it is used frequently.
Children need to be monitored closely if they more often get infected and have constant fluid in their middle ear.
Talk to your doctor about these circumstances. Your doctor will recommend you follow up schedule for appointments also prescribe medicines that are best for your child.
You can prevent ear infection by following certain tips.
· Teach your children to wash their hand more often to avoid many other illnesses that cause an ear infection.
· Ask them to not share their utensils.
· They must sneeze in the crook of their arm.
· Try to keep your child stay at home and avoid child care centres.
· Brest feeds your child for at least 6 months as there are antibodies in breast milk that fight protect them from an ear infection.
· If your baby feeds on a bottle. Avoid lying position while he or she is drinking instead put them on an upright position.