Thursday, October 16, 2014

All About Ear Infections

Flu season is fast approaching and ear infections can come with it. Ear infections are caused by viruses such as the common cold or the flu and are common in many infants and babies. Inflammation builds in the fluids of the middle ear and can cause a lot of discomfort. While most infections will go away within 7 days, some need to be treated by antibiotics. It can be overwhelming to deal with the discomfort that your child may experience when they have an ear infection.

Here are some common signs/symptoms that can help you determine whether to take your child to the doctor:

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    • Headache
    • Fever of 100 F or higher
    • Loss of appetite
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Ear pain when lying down
    • Tugging or pulling at ears
    • More irritable than usual
    • Loss of balance
    • Drainage from fluid or ear


It is recommended by the Mayo Clinic to see a doctor if: symptoms have lasted more than a day, ear pain is severe, your infant or toddler is sleepless or irritable after a cold or other upper respiratory infection or you observe discharge or fluid, pus or bloody discharge from the ear.

Although ear infections are common in babies and toddlers, there are things you can do to prevent them from happening:

  • Breastfeeding your baby provides increased natural immunity.
  • Boost his or her immunity by feeding him or her fruits, veggies and seafood. These have been shown to improve babies developing immune systems.
  • Keep allergens at bay: irritants can cause fluid to build in the middle ear and nasal passages.
  • Don't smoke around your baby.
  • Limit pacifier use-especially if baby is older than 6 months. Several studies have shown correlations between the frequency of pacifier use and ear infections.

More tips can be found here.
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The good news is that over time your child's ears will continue to develop and it becomes more difficult for fluid and germs to build up in the middle ear. This along with a more mature immune system will greatly reduce the frequency of ear infections.

What tips do you have for looking after little ones with ear infections or during times of sickness? Share your ideas of helping your child feel comfortable.

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