Has your baby been crying more than usual? Being fussy and keeps on keeping the ears? Then, the sad news is the poor child is suffering from ear infection. More than 80% of the toddlers and kids suffer from the problems of ear infection. Otitis media or ear infection is caused by the inflammation caused in the middle ear. This kind of infection is caused in between the Eustachian tube and the ear drum this joins the nose, throat and ears. Cold causes ear infections and are caused by the virus or bacteria. This causes the Eustachian tube to swell up and cause inflammation.
The Eustachian tube starts to narrow down and ends up building fluid at the back of the eardrum which ends up causing a lot of pain and pressure. Children suffer from ear infections more because they have shorter, narrower and horizontal Eustachian tubes. This is the reason why it gets blocked more often. Only one out of ten kids suffer from the problems of an eardrum that is ruptured. Within a span of few days, the eardrum ends up healing and causes no harm to the hearing of the child.
What are the symptoms that your child has an ear infection?
Yes, kids sure as hell cry a lot and it is hard to tell what is bothering them. So, you have to look out for symptoms and try to understand what is it that is bothering your child.
- More than often kids start to pull their ears trying to give you a signal that they are in pain.
- Your child loses appetite as it becomes painful for him or her to chew the food and then swallow it.
- They are unable to sleep as lying down hurts them more.
- Kids start to have diarrhea or throw up a lot. The bacteria, bugs or fungi that cause the ear infection can affect the tract of gastrointestinal.
- When whitish or yellowish fluid starts to run down the ears. It is quite unlikely to happen in majority cases.
- Foul and unpleasant odor come out of their ears.
- They stop responding because the buildup of fluid can end up blocking the middle ear.
- When your child starts to stumble more or is really unsteady. The equilibrium is maintained by the ears and ear infection can mess with that.
- They come down with fever.
- The child is cranky and agitated.
How many times can your child suffer from the problems of ear infections?
Ear infections are extremely common occurrences in children. It is the illness that occurs the most in children.
Reasons behind the occurrence of ear infection in children
It is caused by virus or bacteria. Fluid starts to build up behind the eardrums causing infection. What happens is any fluid that enters the back of the eardrums is quickly drained with the help of the Eustachian tube connecting the middle portion of the ear to the throat and back region of the nose. Eustachian tubes get blocked when someone has a sinus infection, cold or other kinds of allergies. This causes the fluid to be trapped behind the middle ear.
The best place for germs to grow is wet, dark and warm places which makes the middle ear that is filled with fluid the best ground for breeding. When the infection starts to worsen it causes more inflammation behind and inside the eardrum. This makes the condition painful and worse. The body of a child is fragile and he or she might end up having a fever while trying to fight the infection in the ear.
The term used medically for such inflammation and pain in the middle of the ear along with fever is Acute otitis media or AOM. Don’t make the mistake of using a pacifier as this can enhance the risk and infection caused in the middle ear of the baby or toddler. The size of the Eustachian tube of a child is only half an inch and it is more horizontal which makes children and babies suffer from ear infections more. Growing up the Eustachian tube starts to grow longer and vertical which allows the drainage of fluid easier.
Should you call for a doctor?
The second you witness any sign that your child has an ear infection call the doctor or rush him to the hospital. With an otoscope the doctor will be able to witness the insides of your child’s ear and see whether there is any sign of redness, inflammation, draining and bulging to know whether or not it is infected. Using a pneumatic otoscope the doctors check for signs of response in the eardrum. This instrument releases a small puff of air into the ears of your child to see whether there is any movement. If there aren’t any it means there is an infection.
What to do to get rid off the ear infection caused in your child’s ear?
You need to observe the signs that your child shows for a minimum of seventy-two hours. Do this to ensure whether or not his or her condition worsens without the use of antibiotics. If your child doesn’t get better within three days then the medication/antibiotics is need immediately. Earlier doctors didn’t hesitate to give a child antibiotics to get over the infection in the ear of the child but now cases are seen where a child can become vulnerable to infections and antibiotics.
It is up to the doctor to decide what is best for your child considering his symptoms as well his age. Not completing a course of antibiotics is the worst mistake you can make. So, follow the course of medication and take your child for an ear check up every now and then this will help the doctor to understand whether the medication worked. Never make the mistake of giving your child an aspirin as it can cause a rare but fatal syndrome of Reye’s.
You can place moist and warm compress above the ear of your child for fifteen minutes to reduce the pain.
In case your kid is above six months old you can give him or her the prescribed medication called Acetaminophen or Tylenol. It will help to reduce the fever of the child and give him/her relief from the ear ache. Follow the instructions carefully and give it to him/her before they sleep.
When no fluid flows out from the ears of your child and there isn’t any sign of ruptured eardrum. Heat a little sesame or Olive oil. Cool it until it is bearable and slowly pour it into the infected ear of the child.
Your child has to drink a lot of fluids. This helps the blocked up eustachian tube to open up and drain out the stored fluid causing ear ache.
Elevating the head of your child slightly by putting a pillow or two under the mattress will help to drain out the sinus. Never put a pillow underneath it’s head.
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Use of homeopathy
Eardrops that contain ingredients like mullein, garlic, lavender and candula will reduce the pain and inflammation.
Is there anything a parent can do to prevent these ear infections that affect a child?
Although there are ear infections which can’t be prevented but you can do a few things to protect your child.
The milk produced by a mother has antibodies that can keep your baby safe and away from infections. So, breastfeeding for a minimum of six to twelve months will help.
Away from smoke
If a child is subjected to smoke the problems of ear infection worsens. Parents who are smokers can cause their children unintentional and very serious damage.
Germs can’t breed or spread in and around your baby. To reduce that take the necessary precautions. Wash hands after you or anyone in the house uses the toilet, before preparing meals or changing diapers.
When your child is immune he/she can fight the reasons that can cause the ear infection. Get your child a flu shot if he or she suffers from ear infections after having flu. Getting your child the vaccination for pneumonal conjugate will also help in preventing the frequent occurrences of ear infection.
If your child is being fed using a bottle then make sure to maintain a semi-upright posture while he or she is being fed. This will prevent the formula from flowing straight to the eustachian tubes and blocking it. Propping bottles should be avoided too.
Maintain a sustainable environment for your child
Keep your baby away from people who are sick or don’t take your child to places where there are high chances of getting the flu.
How serious are ear infections?
Yes, ear infections can be serious and cause damage by rupturing the eardrum of a child if he or she is not treated on time. The chances of eardrum rupture is rare and doesn’t happen that frequently. To ensure your child’s is healing from the ear infection make sure you take him or her for regular check-ups. When your child starts to face the problem of ear infection on a repeated basis sometimes it can lead to scarring and loss of hearing. In some rare situations, when ear infections aren’t treated it can cause meningitis or an infection in the skull called mastoiditis.
Children suffer from a lot of problems and infections but that doesn’t mean they will face any serious issues. More than often it is nothing but keep your child protected from the slightest danger that can cause it any pain.