Otitis Media: A Common Middle Ear Infection In Children

Otitis Media: A Common Middle Ear Infection In Children

18 Jan 2022 | 3 min Read

Dr Ashka Shah

Author | 1 Articles

Children between 6 months to 2 years are prone to ear infections. The most common type of ear infection seen in children is Otitis media. Upper respiratory tract infections cause swelling of the mucous membrane of the nose and throat; and reduces the clearance of bacteria from the nose. Along with this eustachian tube ( short tube connecting the nose/throat area and the ear) function gets impaired resulting in fluid collection in the middle ear. Bacteria and viruses follow ultimately causing inflammation in the middle ear.

Younger children tend to suffer from such infections as eustachian tube is often soft or immature in them and gets easily blocked by cold or allergens.

Factors that can lead to Otitis Media include:

  • Upper respiratory tract infection – usually viral such as a cold or flu
  • Pacifier use
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Specific allergies leading to swelling of the nasal passage
  • Excessive air pollution or cigarette smoke
  • Entering of water in the ear (while bathing, swimming)

Otitis media when they get severe can lead to loss of hearing, tearing of the eardrum, delayed development of speech, and infection in the adjacent areas like the bone present behind the ear (mastoid bone), membrane coverings around the brain, and spinal cord. Severe spread of infection towards the brain and spinal cord can lead to meningitis.

It is important to prevent your little ones from such adverse health conditions.

A few of the ways to prevent and manage Otitis Media or ear infection in children include:

  • Vaccinate your children with PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) and annual influenza vaccine. Vaccination can lower the risk of an ear infection.
  • Continue exclusive breastfeeding for atleast first 6 months of life and try continuing one year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and the baby. The antibodies present in breast milk support their immune system to fight such infections.
  • Avoid bottle feeding while in sleeping position.
  • If using pacifiers – try eliminating its use by first birthday.
  • Keep your, as well as your children’s hands, clean all the time.
  • Keep your children away from cigarette smoke and air pollution.
  • Avoid sick people coming in contact with your children as they may infect them with bacteria and viruses.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene in your children.
  • Avoid excess water entering your children’s ears. Keep their ears clean and dry all the time.
  • Protect their ears with ear plugs/bathing caps while swimming to avoid water entering their ears.
  • In case of an ear infection, strictly avoid swimming and use the prescribed medication regularly.

#childhealth #babycare

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