How to Prevent Ear Infections
An ear infection is a common ailment among young children, because the size of a child's ear makes it more difficult for fluid to drain out of it, and children's immune systems aren't as good at fighting infection as adults. In fact, ear infections are the most common reason parents bring their children to the doctor, and five out of six children have ear infections before they're 3 years old, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Ear infections, which are usually bacterial, generally result from fluid buildup behind the ear drum and sometimes follow another sickness involving the nose or throat. While common, ear infections can be prevented and easily treated, and if you have concerns about your child's ear pain, you can always consult an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) for treatment. NorthWest ENT & Allergy specializes in such treatments and serves the Milwaukie, OR, area.
Experts recommend several preventative steps to improve your child's chances of avoiding ear infections.
Research has shown children who are around smokers — even if the person isn't smoking anywhere near them — have a higher rate of ear infections than children who aren't around smokers. Residual fumes in people's hair and clothing can also affect children, so a smoke-free home and spending time in smoke-free environments will help prevent ear infections.
Breast Feed Your Baby
If you're able to breast feed your baby for at least 6 to 12 months, your child may have a lower risk of contracting ear infections. The research behind this suggests the antibodies in breast milk may help prevent ear infections.
When bottle feeding your baby — whether you've breast fed them in the past or not — make sure you feed them in the upright position. ENT experts strongly advise again giving your baby a bottle while he or she is lying down.
Get Your Child Vaccinated
Illness prevention comes in many forms, and getting your child the recommended childhood vaccinations will help them build a strong immune system that fights infections. Additionally, do what you can to reduce your child's exposure to illnesses, like using group childcare sparingly and choosing smaller care facilities if possible. The fewer children there are in one place, the less likely it is germs will spread.
Call NorthWest ENT & Allergy Care Today!
Watch out for signs your child is experiencing ear discomfort, like ear pulling, fussiness, and ear discharge. If you have further questions about how to best prevent illness or treat an ear infection, the experts at NorthWest ENT & Allergy can help. Call (503) 513-8693 for information
Are you a patient of Northwest ENT & Allergy Care? If so, we would love to hear about your experiences below!