Children’s Chronic Ear Infection
Some youngsters, however, appear to have ear infections much more frequently than others. Infections may linger for a long time or recur suddenly. When an infection persists despite standard therapy, it is called a recurrent infection.
Chronic otitis media is the most common cause of a persistent ear infection in children. A build-up of fluid in the inner ear is a common cause of persistent ear issues in youngsters. This fluid isn’t draining adequately through the Eustachian tube. This frequently occurs as a result of an infection that isn’t responding to standard therapies. Fluid can sometimes remain in the middle ear or return after the infection has cleared up, causing symptoms to persist.
How To Treat A Child’s Ear Infection
An ear infection usually goes away on its own but, if it doesn’t, your child may need treatment. Most doctors will prescribe an antibiotic such as amoxicillin. It’s important that your child takes the exact dosage over the full amount of time, even if symptoms improve. Your doctor may also recommend over-the-counter medicine for ear infections with pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
If your child has repeated ear infections within a short period of time, or has hearing loss due to fluid build-up, your child’s physician may recommend ear tube surgery. Learn more about when a child may need ear tubes.
Check If It’s An Ear Infection
The symptoms of an ear infection usually start quickly and include:
- discharge running out of the ear
- a feeling of pressure or fullness inside the ear
- itching and irritation in and around the ear
- scaly skin in and around the ear
Young children and babies with an ear infection may also:
- rub or pull their ear
- not react to some sounds
- be irritable or restless
- be off their food
- keep losing their balance
Most ear infections clear up within 3 days, although sometimes symptoms can last up to a week.
|Inner ear infection||Middle ear infection||Outer ear infection|
|Can affect both children and adults||Usually affects children||Usually affects adults aged 45 to 75|
|Caused by viral or bacterial infections||Caused by viruses like colds and flu||Caused by something irritating the ear canal, such as eczema, water or wearing earplugs|
|Affects parts of the inner ear like the labyrinth and vestibular system, and can lead to labyrinthitis||Affects the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the nose||Affects the ear canal|
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Causes And Prevention Of Ear Infection In Dogs
Prevention depends on identifying the underlying cause of the ear infection. In some cases the ear canal becomes moist from bathing, grooming or swimming. This moisture fosters the growth of microorganisms in the ear canal. Prevention in these cases can be as simple as cleaning the ear as previously described to remove the moisture and prevent the infection. However, in many cases an underlying cause may not be so easily identified. Dogs that suffer from allergies, either environmental, such as pollens , dust mites, molds or food are predisposed to ear infections. This is due to the microscopic inflammation that allergies cause in the skin allowing overgrowth of bacterial and yeast organisms that normally inhabit the skin.
What microorganism is causing the ear infection and what is the underlying cause? Routine cleaning with a gentle dog-approved ear cleaner may be necessary to reduce the frequency of recurrent ear infections in dogs with allergies. Cleaning your dogs ears after a bath or grooming appointment may prevent any potential infections.
Floppy or cropped, what do your dogs ears look like?
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Why Do Infants And Young Children Tend To Have Ear Infections
The Eustachian tube, a canal that runs from the middle ear to the back of the nose and throat, is shorter and more horizontal in infants and young children than in older children and adults. This allows easier entry into the middle ear for the microorganisms that cause infection and leads to otitis media. Young children also have more immature immune systems.
The result is that infants and young children are at greater risk of acquiring ear infections than adults.
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Five Tips To Help Relieve Ear Infection Symptoms At Home
If your little one is cranky, unusually fussy and tugging at his or her ear or is feverish and having difficulty sleeping, chances are it may be due to an ear infection.
Ear infections in children often go away on their own or in some cases with antibiotic treatment. The challenge for many parents is knowing what to do, what to watch for and when to call their pediatrician.
Five out of six children experience an ear infection by the time they are 3 years old, according to the National Institutes of Health. The odds are that your child will have an ear infection before kindergarten.
What causes an ear infection?
Ear infections can be caused by either bacteria or a virus, often following a cold. The common cold can cause the middle ear to become inflamed and fluid to build up behind the eardrum. The Eustachian tube, which connects the ears, nose and throat, can also become swollen.
Children are more susceptible to ear infections than adults because they have shorter and narrower Eustachian tubes, and it is easier for germs to reach the middle ear and for fluid to get trapped there, says Kara Hutton, MD, a pediatrician at Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo. Babies and children also have weaker immune systems, so it is more difficult for their bodies to fight an infection.
The onset of ear infections is often on day three of a cold. Ear infections peak at age 6 months to 2 years, and are a common problem until age 8, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
What Is Chronic Otitis Media
Chronic otitis mediaâ¯may be defined as a middle ear effusion without perforation that is reported to persist for more than one to three months.2â¯Also calledâ¯chronic serous otitis media, it generally occurs gradually over many years inâ¯peopleâ¯with long-standing or frequent ear trouble.â¯â¯
Warning signs of chronic otitis mediaâ¯include:3
- Hearing lossâ¯
- Confusion or sleepinessâ¯
- Drainage or swelling behind the earâ¯
If it is not treated, chronicâ¯otitis media may not only cause severe pain but also result in serious complications, including permanent hearing impairment.4
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How Is An Ear Infection Treated
Treatment of ear infections depends on age, severity of the infection, the nature of the infection and if fluid remains in the middle ear for a long period of time.
Your healthcare provider will recommend medications to relieve you or your childs pain and fever. If the ear infection is mild, depending on the age of the child, your healthcare provider may choose to wait a few days to see if the infection goes away on its own before prescribing an antibiotic.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if bacteria are thought to be the cause of the ear infection. Your healthcare provider may want to wait up to three days before prescribing antibiotics to see if a mild infection clears up on its own when the child is older. If your or your childs ear infection is severe, antibiotics might be started right away.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended when to prescribe antibiotics and when to consider waiting before prescribing based on your childs age, severity of their infection, and your childs temperature. Their recommendations are shown in the table below.
American Academy of Pediatrics Treatment Guide for Acute Otitis Media
|in one or both ears||Mild for < 48 hours and temp < 102.2° F||Treat with antibiotic OR observe. If observe, start antibiotics if child worsens or doesnt improve within 48 to 72 hours of start of symptoms|
Risk Factors For Baby Ear Infections
The majority of children will get at least one or two ear infections in their first few years of life . But some babies may be more at risk for ear infections than others. Here are some risk factors that may increase your babys susceptibility:
- If you have a family history of ear infections, your baby may be more likely to get them.
- Your baby is more likely to get an ear infection with the more colds and other viruses they pick up.
- Babies who have allergies are more likely to have ear infections because of the swelling and inflammation that allergies can cause.
- Babies with chronic illnesses are more likely to experience ear infections, especially if they have respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis and asthma.
- Being exposed to secondhand smoke can increase your babys risk for ear infections.
- Babies who are bottle-fed are more likely to experience ear infections than breastfed babies however, you can minimize the risk by bottle feeding your baby in an upright position, so that milk doesnt pool in their ear passages.
- Making sure your baby doesnt fall asleep while drinking a bottle can also decrease their likelihood of getting an ear infection.
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Prevention Of Ear Infection In Adults
Prevention of Outer Ear Infection
- Do not swim in contaminated water and always use ear plugs while swimming.
- Make sure your ears are dry and clean. Dry your outer ear only, gently wipe it with a soft fabric. Turn your head to the side and drain the water from your ear canal.
- Wash your hands every time you touch your ears.
- Avoid ear irritation. Place cotton balls into your ears when using hair dryer or hair spray.
- Avoid scratching your ears with nails, cotton swabs, paper clips or hairpins.
Prevention of Middle Ear Infection
- Quit smoking and secondhand smoking.
- Treat colds, allergies or sinusitis. Take a decongestant if you have a cold or before an air travel.
- Do not place any foreign objects in your ears.
- Wash your hands regularly, do not go out when you are sick and avoid getting germs from others.
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How Is Chronic Ear Infection Treated In Children
If your child has recurrent ear infections, you should consult pediatric ENT to determine if there is a cause. Chronic otitis media can be caused by an infection or a blockage in the Eustachian tubes, which should be checked by a doctor. Antibiotics can assist with persistent bacterial infections, but if your kid has a chronic condition, further treatments such as grommets may be required. If the Eustachian tubes aren’t operating properly, grommets might be put into the ear drum to provide another drainage route for the middle ear. Getting rid of your child’s recurring ear infections can have a significant impact on their health and well-being. For consultation see us at OKOA.
**Disclaimer: The information on this page is not intended to be a doctor’s advice, nor does it create any form of patient-doctor relationship.
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When To See The Doctor
- If there is redness and swelling behind the ear.
- Your child has a high fever
- If a pointed object was put in the ear.
- You kid feels really sick.
- Your kid has a weak immune system.
- Your childs ear pain at night does not subside even after giving painkillers.
Ear pains are common in children and can be managed effectively by using home remedial measures. However, you must contact a paediatrician if your kids symptoms do not improve, and your kid is less than two years of age.
What Can I Do To Help Prevent An Ear Infection
- Wash your and your child’s hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. Ask everyone in your house to wash their hands with soap and water. Ask them to wash after they use the bathroom or change a diaper. Remind them to wash before they prepare or eat food.
- Keep your child away from people who are ill, such as sick playmates. Germs spread easily and quickly in daycare centers.
- If possible, breastfeed your baby. Your baby may be less likely to get an ear infection if he or she is breastfed.
- Do not give your child a bottle while he or she is lying down. This may cause liquid from the sinuses to leak into his or her eustachian tube.
- Keep your child away from cigarette smoke. Smoke can make an ear infection worse. Move your child away from a person who is smoking. If you currently smoke, do not smoke near your child. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you want help to quit smoking.
- Ask about vaccines. Vaccines may help prevent infections that can cause an ear infection. Have your child get a yearly flu vaccine as soon as recommended, usually in September or October. Ask about other vaccines your child needs and when he or she should get them.
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Differences Between Middle Ear Infection And Outer Ear Infection
|Middle ear infection|
|Middle ear infection Usually affects children||Outer ear infection Usually affects adults aged 45 to 75|
|Middle ear infection Caused by viruses like colds and flu||Outer ear infection Caused by something irritating the ear canal, such as eczema, water or wearing ear plugs|
|Middle ear infection Affects the middle ear||Outer ear infection Affects the ear canal|
What Causes Ear Infections In Babies
Ear infections, medically known as acute otitis media, are infections of the middle part of the ear. They are caused by either a viral infection or a bacterial infection. These infections cause fluid to build up in the middle ear, as well as inflammation. In some cases, the eustachian tubes show signs of infection as well.
Adults can get ear infections, too, but babies and young children are most prone to them, especially children under the age of three. Five out of six children will have had an ear infection by the time they turn three,and 25% of children will experience repeat ear infections.
The reason babies and young children are more prone to ear infections include:
- Babies ear passages are different than adults: they are shorter, narrower, and more horizontal in orientation
- Babies are more likely to get colds and other viruses, which make them more prone to ear infections
- Babies immune systems are less developed than adults, so their reactions to virus are usually more intenseleading to complications such as ear infections
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How Do You Treat Your Babys Ear Infection
Treatment for your babys ear infection will depend on their age and how severe the infection is. Your pediatrician may recommend over-the-counter pain medication as needed and keeping an eye on it. If your child has a fever or the ear infection is not improving, your pediatrician will most likely prescribe oral antibiotic liquid to clear up the infection.
Can Baby Ear Infections Be Prevented
Ear infections are very common. In most cases, theres not much parents can do to prevent themand you shouldnt feel guilty if it happens to your baby! However, there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood that your baby will come down with an ear infection:
- Breastfeedingyou dont have to breastfeed full-time to reap benefits
- Reducing your babys exposure to secondhand smoke
- Practicing good hygiene such as frequent hand washing to reduce the chances of your baby picking up a viral infection that may lead to an ear infection
- Keeping up with your babys vaccines and getting an annual flu shot
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What Happens If My Child Keeps Getting Ear Infections
To keep a middle ear infection from coming back, it helps to limit some of the factors that might put your child at risk, such as not being around people who smoke and not going to bed with a bottle. In spite of these precautions, some children may continue to have middle ear infections, sometimes as many as five or six a year. Your doctor may want to wait for several months to see if things get better on their own but, if the infections keep coming back and antibiotics arent helping, many doctors will recommend a surgical procedure that places a small ventilation tube in the eardrum to improve air flow and prevent fluid backup in the middle ear. The most commonly used tubes stay in place for six to nine months and require follow-up visits until they fall out.
If placement of the tubes still doesnt prevent infections, a doctor may consider removing the adenoids to prevent infection from spreading to the eustachian tubes.
When Should I Call The Doctor
- has other serious medical problems,
- seems ill,
- vomits over and over,
- is younger than 6 months old,
- is older than 6 months old and has had a fever for more than 48 hours,
- has swelling behind the ear,
- is very sleepy,
- has a skin rash,
- isnt hearing well or at all,
- remains in a lot of pain despite at least one dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or
- still has an earache after 2 days of treatment with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
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Hot And Cold Compressions
You can either use a heating pad or an ice pack to soothe the ear pain of your child. Hot and cold compressions are very safe for children. The best way of relieving pain is to use alternate methods of compressions with a gap of approximately 10 minutes in between. However, if your kid is uncomfortable with either of the compression, you may use the one which your kid finds comfortable.