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Ear Infections in Children

Posted Dec 21 2008 3:42pm 3 Comments

It’s cold and flu season, the time of year when children are especially vulnerable to painful ear infections. In fact, ear infections are the most commonly diagnosed childhood illness in the United States, second only to the common cold. More than 75 percent of children will have at least one ear infection by the age of three.

Unfortunately, babies are more prone to ear infections than older children or adults because their Eustachian tubes are short (about a half-inch) and horizontal. (Their immune systems are also less well-developed.) Inside your baby’s head, the Eustachian tubes connect her middle ear to the back of her throat, making a passage for fluids when your baby yawns or swallows. The tubes also protect the middle ear from germs that may enter into it via the throat, and they equalize air pressure, which will play a big part in your child’s ability to balance later on. As babies grow, the Eustachian tubes will triple in length and become more vertical, which helps prevent ear infections as the fluid can drain more easily. But until that happens, your baby may be particularly vulnerable to infections.

The most common type of ear infection is formally referred to as otitis media, caused by fluid and bacterial buildup behind your baby’s eardrum. If the Eustachian tubes are swollen due to a cold, allergy or sinus infection, the fluid can become trapped in the middle ear. In this warm, wet environment, bacteria will thrive and produce pus, putting pressure on the eardrum. This pressure causes it to bulge and results in a very painful ear infection.

But colds and allergies aren’t the only cause of fluid buildup in the ear. Fluid can also be prevented from draining if you hold your baby in a horizontal position during feeding. Although it seems instinctive to completely recline your baby in your arms while nursing, this position actually brings more fluid into your baby’s Eustachian tubes. So, be sure that your baby’s head is higher than her feet when she’s being fed.

Most children will have at least one ear infection before their first birthday. Between 10–20 percent will have three or more infections. Fluid in the ear may last an average of a month per occurrence. Repeated infections can cause mild hearing loss, which is of greatest concern when children are developing language skills. Signs of hearing loss in a baby may include failure to startle at loud sounds, not cooing or babbling, not responding to the sound of your voice, not enjoying games like peek-a-boo, and not making 1- or 2-word sounds (“bye-bye,” “dada”) by the first birthday. Because the signs of hearing loss are much more subtle in a baby’s first year, parents should be especially conscientious about having their baby’s hearing checked if he has repeated ear infections.

Signs of an ear infection include:

• Tugging on the ear
• Increased irritability or crying
• Trouble eating or sleeping
• Fluid drainage from the ear (this may be a result of the eardrum rupturing; seek medical attention right away)
• Lack of response to soft sounds
• Cold/flu symptoms, such as fever or vomiting

If you suspect that your baby has an ear infection, be sure to take her to the doctor, who may prescribe antibiotics or just monitor your baby’s condition to see if it clears up on its own. If your child has had repeated ear infections, or fluid behind both eardrums for longer than three months, resulting in significant hearing loss, she may be a candidate for ear tubes. These plastic tubes are placed through a small surgical opening in your baby’s eardrum to drain the fluid, keep infections from recurring, and restore hearing. They usually stay in for 6–12 months before falling out (or being surgically removed).

©2008. Adapted from Boosting Your Baby’s Brain Power, by Holly Engel-Smothers and Susan M. Heim.



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Comments (3)
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We would like to suggest a medical device called Eardoc, for reliving ear pain.

 

The EARDOC is a non invasive device that reduces the ear pain. It treats the problem and not the symptom by opening the eusthichian tube. The Eardoc device was found efficient in clinical tests, and surveys show high user satisfaction,

You can also see a simple two minute movie and read more at  www.eardoc.info 

Trips to the emergency room or sudden doctor's office visits are expensive, and when you have children, you end up going more often. Among the most common afflictions that children suffer, and then their parents along with them, is an incredibly common condition – an ear infection. A way to treat the severe ones is a simple and very common outpatient procedure called a myringotomy. Myringotomy is a procedure in which the eardrum is opened by incision and a tube inserted in order to drain fluid and relieve pressure, like financial pressure can be relieved by payday loans. If you want to read more about it, go to the payday loans blog here.

We have used Homeopathic Hepar Sulf 30C with excellent results in children with ear infections. One child was about to have her ears drilled as antibiotics weren't working. One dosage of Hepar Sulf cured the infection which never returned. That took place about 10 years ago. This remedy was used with eqaual efficacy with other cases as well.

Symptom picture must match Hepar Sulf.

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