How Do Ear Infections Develop In Children
Ear infections result from middle ear inflammation and pooled fluid behind the eardrum. They commonly follow colds, infections, or viruses. Infections cause inflamed eustachian tubes, the canals that drain fluid from the ear to the throat, thus blocking the ears drainage system and building pressure in the middle ear. The eustachian tubes connect a small pocket behind the eardrum to the middle ear. The fluid buildup is a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses that infect the area. Since children have smaller eustachian tubes, they are more likely to suffer frequent ear infections than adults.
Chiropractic Care For Earaches
There is some evidence that chiropractic care can help treat earaches. In one study, 93 percent of all earaches improved with chiropractic caremost kids felt better in 7-10 days and with only 1 to 2 treatments. Though more longterm studies are needed, proponents say chiropractic adjustments can improve middle ear drainage and decrease ear infections.
Studies show pediatric chiropractic care is very safe, but its important to choose a provider that specializes in treating kids.
Its a completely different process when you work with kids, and you have to know what youre doing in order to treat them appropriately. You need to know the proper techniques, contacts and depth. The contacts need to be smaller and the thrust more shallow with less force. Jennifer Brocker, DC, DICCP
Find a pediatric chiropractor using this database.
Special Massage For Earaches
Earaches can be caused by things going on in the throat, jaw, or mouth. A congested lymphatic system can create swelling that causes the earache. Lymphatic drainage massage helps relieve congestion and pressure to alleviate ear pain.
Check out these videos on how to give yourself a lymphatic massage:
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Other Remedies That May Help
These other at-home remedies may provide some relief:
- Neck exercises. Rotating and stretching your neck can help ease pressure thats built up in your ear canal.
- Ginger. With its anti-inflammatory properties, using ginger juice around the outer ear canal may soothe pain.
- Hydrogen peroxide. Place a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into your ear. After a few minutes, let it drain into a sink. Rinse off your ear.
How Does It Cause Disease
As long as air entering from the back of the nose is able to reach the middle ear space via the eustachian tube, the middle ear rarely becomes infected. The eustachian tube in younger children is flimsy and easily collapses. As the child grows, the cartilage tissue surrounding the eustachian tube becomes stiffer, longer, and more angulated inside the skull.
Pneumococcus, Haemophilus, and Moraxella commonly reside in the back of the nose, and do not infect the child. Once a child becomes infected with a respiratory virus, it not only causes congestion of the nose and the lungs, but also of the eustachian tube. When this tube becomes clogged, the cells in the middle ear space produce a fluid-like substance, which allows bacteria to grow and infect the middle ear space. A virus infection precedes up to 90% of cases of acute otitis media.
Respiratory virus infections also trigger ear infections by upsetting the bodys normal defenses in the nose and the eustachian tube, and allowing certain normal bacteria that reside in the nose to stick better to the lining of the nose and the eustachian tube. Certain viruses, such as the flu and RSV , are more frequently associated with ear infections. Occasionally, the childs nose becomes colonized by a new aggressive strain of bacteria, which rapidly invades the middle ear. Unfortunately, more exposures to viruses and new strains of bacteria increase the likelihood of ear infections.
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Homeopathic Remedies For Dog Ear Infections
You can use homeopathic remedies for acute or minor ear flare-ups. Choose the remedy below that best matches your dogs symptoms. Use a 30C potency.
Belladonna Use Belladonna when the ears are very hot and inflamed. Your dog may be impatient and irritable.
Pulsatilla This remedy is helpful for acute flare-ups. Often with sensitivity and redness, along with a yellowish discharge. Pulsatilla animals like to sit near open windows, hate getting their paws wet and wont go out in the rain. They also tend to have a very sweet disposition.
Hepar SulphurisHepar sulph is useful for irritable animals who dont like to have their inflamed ears touched.
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Johns Hopkins Pediatric Otolaryngology
Our pediatric otolaryngologists are committed to providing compassionate and comprehensive care for children with ear, nose, and throat conditions. As part of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, you have access to all the specialized resources of a children’s hospital. Your child will also benefit from experts who use advanced techniques to treat both common and rare conditions.
What Causes An Ear Infection
An ear infection usually is caused by bacteria and often begins after a child has a sore throat, cold, or other upper respiratory infection. If the upper respiratory infection is bacterial, these same bacteria may spread to the middle ear if the upper respiratory infection is caused by a virus, such as a cold, bacteria may be drawn to the microbe-friendly environment and move into the middle ear as a secondary infection. Because of the infection, fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
The ear has three major parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The outer ear, also called the pinna, includes everything we see on the outsidethe curved flap of the ear leading down to the earlobebut it also includes the ear canal, which begins at the opening to the ear and extends to the eardrum. The eardrum is a membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.
The middle earwhich is where ear infections occuris located between the eardrum and the inner ear. Within the middle ear are three tiny bones called the malleus, incus, and stapes that transmit sound vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. The bones of the middle ear are surrounded by air.
The inner ear contains the labyrinth, which help us keep our balance. The cochlea, a part of the labyrinth, is a snail-shaped organ that converts sound vibrations from the middle ear into electrical signals. The auditory nerve carries these signals from the cochlea to the brain.
Cold Or Hot Compresses For Earaches
A warm compress can get the circulation going and alleviate pain associated with earaches. The cold compress can help lessen the throbbing by reducing inflammation.
Go with whichever earache remedy works for you:
- Washcloth soaked in warm or cool water
- Washcloth straight from a warm dryer or hung by a wood stove
- Ice pack wrapped in a towel
- Half of an onion heated gently
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Childhood Ear Infections Explained
Ear infections happen when there is inflammation usually from trapped bacteriain the middle ear, the part of the ear connects to the back of the nose and throat. The most common type of ear infection is otitis media, which results when fluid builds up behind the eardrum and parts of the middle ear become infected and swollen.
If your child has a sore throat, cold, or an upper respiratory infection, bacteria can spread to the middle ear through the eustachian tubes . In response to the infection, fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
Children are more likely to suffer from ear infections than adults for two reasons:
- Their immune systems are underdeveloped and less equipped to fight off infections.
- Their eustachian tubes are smaller and more horizontal, which makes it more difficult for fluid to drain out of the ear.
“In some cases, fluid remains trapped in the middle ear for a long time, or returns repeatedly, even when there’s no infection,” Tunkel explains.
What Happens When Your Childs Doctor Fails To Diagnose An Ear Infection In New Jersey
Nearly 90% of children under three suffer from at least one ear infection, causing flooded doctors offices each year. The fundamental problem occurs when a childs ear infection goes undiagnosed, opening the door for significant complications that may spell permanent repercussions for the rest of their life. When physicians and other medical professionals fail to diagnose or misdiagnose pediatric ear infections, leading to hearing loss or other long-term consequences, parents are right to question these healthcare providers competence and wonder if they had seen another doctor, if their vulnerable child would have suffered the same fate. In these situations, it is highly advisable to seek legal guidance from an experienced pediatric malpractice attorney who can further investigate the claim and hold negligent providers or facilities accountable.
Our childhood malpractice lawyers are highly equipped in the realm of pediatric malpractice litigation, as we have dedicated our lives to injured infants and children who suffer harm due to medical errors across the state of New Jersey. A member of our staff is available immediately to assist you, so please contact us today at 866-708-8617 for a free consultation. Read on to learn more about ear infections in children and what can happen when a medical professional misses an ear infection in your child.
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Ear Infections And Kids Anatomy
Its their anatomy that makes them particularly susceptible.
Older children and adults have a more efficient system for clearing colds. The fluid that builds up in the ear during and after an upper respiratory illness drains down the Eustachian tube, the canal that links the ear to the nose and throat.
In children younger than age 7, the Eustachian tube is shorter and more horizontally positioned, so the fluid takes longer to drain. The build-up can press on the eardrum, causing pain that is especially noticeable to kids when they lay down, breastfeed or suck on a bottle.
What Causes Ear Infections In Toddlers
While ear infections can happen to anyone at any age, they tend to be more frequent in younger children due to the fact that their eustachian tubes the tubes that connect the middle ear to the back of the throat are shorter, more horizontal, and narrower than in older kids and adults. This makes it easier for the eustachian tubes to get blocked, causing a build-up in fluid behind the ear drum, which in turn results in pressure and pain.
Ear infections tend to occur at the tail end of an illness like a cold or sinus infection, and can also be caused by seasonal allergies and acid reflux. Enlarged adenoids can also interfere with the eustachian tube, causing ear infections to occur more frequently.
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Do Ear Infections Always Need To Be Treated With Antibiotics
Many parents bring their children with ear infections to Express Care, Urgent Care and even the Emergency Department to request antibiotics. But, sometimes, antibiotics arent the right choice. Most ear infections cure themselves without the help of antibiotics.
“An ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection that affects the ear. It becomes painful when buildups of fluid and inflammation occur in the air-filled space behind the eardrum,” says Leanna Munoz, Mayo Clinic Health System nurse practitioner. “Signs and symptoms of infection often quickly show.”
Munoz says a great way to tell if your child has an ear infection is if he or she starts showing the following symptoms:
- Pain in the ear, especially while lying down
- Pulling or tugging the ear
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty hearing or responding to sounds
- Fever or headache
Generally, an ear infection will improve within the first couple days and clear up within one to two weeks without any treatment. It is recommended to use the wait-and-see approach for:
- Children age 6 to 23 months with mild inner-ear pain in one ear for less than 48 hours and a temperature less than 102.2 F
- Children age 2 and older with mild inner-ear pain in one or both ears for less than 48 hours and a temperature less than 102.2 F
How Does A Doctor Diagnose A Middle Ear Infection
The first thing a doctor will do is ask you about your childs health. Has your child had a head cold or sore throat recently? Is he having trouble sleeping? Is she pulling at her ears? If an ear infection seems likely, the simplest way for a doctor to tell is to use a lighted instrument, called an otoscope, to look at the eardrum. A red, bulging eardrum indicates an infection.
A doctor also may use a pneumatic otoscope, which blows a puff of air into the ear canal, to check for fluid behind the eardrum. A normal eardrum will move back and forth more easily than an eardrum with fluid behind it.
Tympanometry, which uses sound tones and air pressure, is a diagnostic test a doctor might use if the diagnosis still isnt clear. A tympanometer is a small, soft plug that contains a tiny microphone and speaker as well as a device that varies air pressure in the ear. It measures how flexible the eardrum is at different pressures.
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Natural Remedies For Pediatric Ear Infections
A pediatrician using an otoscope to look into the ear of an 8 month old baby boy.
During the winter months, it seems like kids are sick nearly every week with another cold, virus or ear infection.
Its not uncommon for a child to have an ear infection more than 80 percent of children in the U.S. are diagnosed with ear infections by the time theyre 3 years old.
Home Remedies For Toddler Ear Infections
Ear infections are common in children. Five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by the time they are three years old, and ear infections are the most common reason for childhood doctor’s visits.
Common signs of ear infections in children include:
- Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
- Clumsiness/problems with balance
- Fluid draining from the ear
Because of concerns surrounding antibiotic resistance, many doctors are avoiding prescribing antibiotics for ear infections unless absolutely necessary.
Treatment is usually more focused on pain relief, which can be managed effectively at home in most cases.
FatCamera / Getty Images
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What To Do If Your Toddler Gets Regular Ear Infections
While most kids experience an ear infection or two at some point during their toddler years, others are prone to recurrent or chronic ear infections, causing significant discomfort and frequent trips to the doctor. If this sounds like your child, there are things you can do to help reduce the number of ear infections your child experiences:
Change your feeding style. It has been said that breastfeeding a baby can help prevent chronic ear infections by passing along antibodies from mother to child, so the longer you breastfeed your child, the better. This can be a particularly important decision if you have a family history of ear infections. Of course, if youre searching for toddler ear infection remedies, youre probably already past this stage in your childs life, but if you are still bottle feeding, remember to keep your child semi-upright to avoid fluids and germs from getting into her middle ear.
Ditch the pacifier. Research suggests that kids who use pacifiers are more prone to ear infections. Not only do pacifiers introduce more germs into their mouths, but the sucking motion can force these germs into their middle ear, causing an infection. Try to ditch the pacifier before your child reaches the 6-month mark or, at the very least, limit usage to bedtime to avoid exposure to outside germs.
Prevention From Ear Infection
Sometimes, even the slightest pain in the ear can aggravate and turn out to be an ear infection. It is advisable that we maintain proper hygiene and do not indulge in putting swabs in the ears for cleaning as they might rupture the eardrum and can also cause outer ear infections.
A healthy diet along with supplements can ensure that we become immune to ear infections, but in case we are faced with the inevitable, there are a number of remedies available to cure the ear infection easily and quickly.
But as mentioned, it is not preferable to wait for more than 3-4 days before showing to a doctor if the home remedies do not provide any relief and the pain keeps increasing.
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Home And Natural Remedies
Doctors usually advise caregivers to watch their child for 2 to 3 days to give the babys immune system the chance to fight off the infection without the need for antibiotics.
During this time, doctors will probably recommend that caregivers treat the symptoms of the infection at home. Remedies may include:
- Over-the-counter medication. In babies of 6 months or older, caregivers may consider giving the child acetaminophen to relieve pain or fever. Speak to a doctor before giving any medication to babies under 3 months of age.
- Warm compress. Holding a warm compress to the childs ear may also help ease the pain.
- Fluids. Giving the child plenty of fluids to drink encourages swallowing, which can help drain the middle ear and relieve painful pressure.
What Happens If An Ear Infection Is Left Untreated
Fluid buildup in the ear can be damaging even if theres no infection and may lead to a ruptured eardrum and hearing loss. So, its important to see the doctor if symptoms remain after finishing the antibiotics. Theyll likely want to take a look in your ear and learn more about your symptoms.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend you see an ear, nose and throat doctor. The ENT doctor may recommend surgery to place small metal or plastic tubes in the ear canal to make it easier for the fluid to drain out. Your doctor may also recommend ear tube surgery for your child if they have recurrent ear infections.
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