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Health Tips for November 23

Posted Nov 22 2008 9:37pm

Health Tip: Is Your Child More Prone to Ear Infections?

Ear infections are common in children, and may occur for a variety of reasons.

But certain factors -- both environmental and beyond anyone's control -- may increase your child's risk.

The American Academy of Family Physicians lists these common risk factors for ear infections in children:

  • Being around cigarette smoking.
  • Having had ear infections before, frequent colds, or having a family history of ear infections.
  • Going to a day-care center.
  • Being born premature or at low birth weight.
  • Going to bed with a bottle or using a pacifier.
  • Being male.
  • Having allergies that cause congestion.

Health Tip: Ear Infection May Not Need Antibiotic

If your child has an ear infection, it's important to take the child to a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. The pediatrician will determine if the infection is bacterial or viral.

Here are suggestions on how to treat your child's ear infection, courtesy of the American Academy of Family Physicians:

  • If the infection is bacterial, your doctor probably will prescribe an antibiotic.
  • If the infection is viral, an antibiotic won't treat it, so prescribing one may be counterproductive.
  • You can give your child a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Don't give your child aspirin, unless the doctor says so.
  • Apply a warm heating pad to the ear to relieve pain.
  • The doctor may prescribe ear drops.
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