Ear infections are most commonly found in children. House Call Doctor explains why -- and what to do when they happen.
As many parents will attest, ear infections are most commonly found in children. There are several reasons for this occurrence. The first is that babies’ heads are shaped differently, making it harder for their Eustachian tubes to drain. This is made worse by the fact that babies spend a lot of time lying down. Another reason is that they get sick a lot.
Babies’ bodies are busy getting used to a world full of germs and learning how to fight them off. Some are better at this than others. The final reason is reflux, or spit-up. Babies do this a lot, and even when it’s not coming out of the mouth and landing on bystanders, it’s often happening at the back of their throats, hitting the Eustachian tubes. Scientists have actually found stomach enzymes in the ear fluid of young children with ear infections.
So here are your 4 Quick and Dirty Tips regarding ear infections:
If you or your child are not in bad pain or running a fever, it’s OK to let an ear infection go. Many will get better without antibiotics.
Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the pain. You can also use pain relief eardrops, but don’t use them if you suspect a perforation or if your child has tubes.
Don’t demand antibiotics, since overuse of antibiotics is often much more dangerous than infection.
For repeated infections requiring multiple antibiotics, ask if ear tubes are appropriate.
Sad Baby image from Shutterstock