An ear infection is the second most common illness in children behind the common cold. Most ear infections clear up without any lasting damage, but you need to watch them closely, because if they begin to occur frequently or are left untreated they can cause long term hearing damage.
The most common risks for developing ear infections in children are the following:
- Age – younger children are more likely to develop them due to the small size of the Eustachian tubes which make it easier for fluid to build up within them
- Gender – boys tend to have more of them then girls
- Heredity – if a parent or sibling had repeated infections, then a child is more likely to have them also
- Colds and Allergies – colds and allergies lead to ear infections
- Tobacco Smoke – children who breathe in the second hand smoke are more likely to develop ear infections and other illnesses
- Bottle Feeding – children who are breast fed are less likely to develop ear infections. When bottle feeding a baby, hold their head above their stomach so the Eustachian tubes are less likely to be blocked
Regularly washing your child’s hands is one of the best prevention techniques to decrease their chance of developing colds and ear infections
The most common symptoms of an ear infection are:
- Pain – infants who cannot speak will cry often particularly when feeding due to sucking and swallowing
- Ear Drainage – sometimes white fluid or perhaps blood colored fluid may drain from the ear
- Difficulty Hearing
If you believe your child may have an ear infection or is displaying some of the symptoms above, make an appointment to see your pediatrician.
*Above Information provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics