Tag Archive | "ear infections"

Managing Ear Infections

Here goes your child again. After incessantly wailing for a good eternity while tugging his ear, he now complains of headache and shows a difficulty in speaking and even in listening. Probably tired of the same problems repeating over and over again, you re-evaluate the situation and find out that your child has a fever. Add to that already burdening problem is a fluid leaking from one of his ears. At last, he is able to verbalize that something is oddly buzzing or ringing in his ear.

This, my dear parent, are classic signs and symptoms of acute otitis media that commonly affects young children and sometimes, even teenagers who are overly hygiene-conscious of themselves. When the condition worsens, expect the unexpected and rare complications such as mastoiditis, meningitis and even damage to specific bones as the bacteria seeps into the body. Consequently, an unattended acute otitis media may lead to hearing loss.

Despite the troubling symptoms a child may exhibit during a case of an ear infection, recent studies have suggested that mothers need not use antibiotic to treat their children. A recognized authority, the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends that babies 6 months and below diagnosed with AOM be given antibacterial. For those who are older than 6 months, the organization suggests that antibiotics should only be given if the symptoms are severe. Interestingly but backed by scientific studies, AAP advocate for the non-usage of antibacterials if there is an uncertain diagnosis and if the symptoms are only mild. However, at this point, parents should keep a watchful eye and observe other symptoms that might appear in the next 48-72 hours.

Recent studies have shown that the ear infections will most likely heal on its own using the body’s defenses. Additionally, it might help you to know that a lot of healthcare providers these days are becoming more wary about ordering antibiotics even for adults, especially for children. For babies as well as children who were prescribed with antibiotics, it is very important to finish the course of the therapy to ensure that the bacteria are eradicated and that the organisms do not become resistant. If the bacteria become resistant, chances are, the next time your child suffers from an infection, you’ll have to buy more expensive and stronger class of bacteria.

In the meantime, while your precious little one suffers from ear infection, you might want to relieve the pain by giving over-the-counter pain medicines such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. This will greatly reduce the pain felt and that it would be relatively easier to doze off. You can also apply a warm compress near the affected ear while keeping the head elevated for more relief.

Finally, prevent ear infections by building and boosting your child’s immunity through breastfeeding, the maintenance of a house that is free from allergens and possible infectious agents like tobacco smoke, pollens, dusts etc. Make sure that anyone especially caregivers wash their hands before holding your baby or interacting with your toddler or pre-schooler. Check with your doctor vaccinations that can help you against immunizations that may reduce the occurrence of ear infections.

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Second Hand Smoke and Its Effect to Your Children’s Health

Children are very vulnerable to have diseases because their immune systems are still not developed to fight bacteria and viruses. That is why it is very common for these little ones to have conditions like cough and colds every so often no matter how we parents try our hardest to take good care of them. If it is possible, all parents would want their children to just let their children at home so that they are far from all the things outside that can cause them to have diseases.

One of the things that can lead children to be sick is being exposed to second hand smoke. It may be hard for parents to stop their children from this exposure especially when the child goes to public places. Much worst some parents and other family members are smokers themselves which makes the child exposed to second hand smoke even when they are at home.

Second hand smoke gives a serious threat to a child’s health much more than what it does to adults since their body’s defenses are still developing. Here are some of the effects of second hand smoke to your children’s health:

  • For neonates or children under one year old, they may die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome from inhaling cigarette smoke. The harmful chemicals that the smoke has cause multiple effects to the health of the baby leading it to die.
  • Cigarette smoke can cause sensitivity in most children leading them to develop asthma.
  • Ear infections can also develop into children who are constantly exposed to second hand smoke. When ear infections are not properly managed it can affect the child’s hearing, not to mention ear infections are painful and cause them to have fever.
  • The child can also have conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis. When left unmanaged, these conditions can even lead to death.
  • Perhaps the most feared of second hand smoke in children is lung cancer. Most parents may think that it is okay for children to be exposed to second hand smoke because it is the smoker who inhales all the chemicals from smoke. But in reality, second hand smokers get the same amount of toxicity that the smoker gets.

Cigarette smoking would certainly do no good to the body; much more to your child’s health. Much worse, children may see cigarette smoking as a good thing because that is what they see on their parents. They may start smoking at an early age which posses them for more serious health risks.

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Dealing with Ear Aches in Children

The ear is an important organ we use everyday for hearing. Imagine how difficult it would be to converse if lose our sense of hearing. The ear collects sound waves and transmits them to the brain. Sound is collected from the outer ear and travels to the middle ear through the ear canal and then it hits the eardrum and the vibration made causes the tiny bones inside the inner ear to move and this movement sends the signals to the brain to be interpreted as sounds.

Ear aches are caused by bacteria or a virus that infects the lining of the Eustachian tube, this tube connects the middle ear through the back end of the nose. The purpose of the Eustachian tube is to drain fluid out of the middle ear; if the fluid is not drained properly bacteria can proliferate and cause pressure inside the ear which causes the pain that most children feel. The Eustachian tube can be blocked by allergens, colds, infections and other blockages like the adenoid glands close to the ear when they become inflamed. Children are more common to ear infections because their Eustachian tubes are shorter and narrower compared to adults and this anatomical difference makes them prone towards various infections.

Most children complain of pain inside the ear and sometime a ringing sound. Ear infections usually take around 1 to 2 weeks to heal while in some cases it can become a chronic condition. For toddlers and infants who cannot communicate well enough you may only associate symptoms if they cry a lot, pulls their ears or tugs the ear frequently. Ear pain is quite uncomfortable and will leave your child restless and agitated.

Treatment of ear infections depends if the infection is caused by bacteria or viruses. Doctor may prescribe antibiotics in the presence of a bacterial infection. Make sure to follow the dosage and complete the duration of the antibiotic therapy to avoid recurrent infections. Pain relievers may help ease the pain and reduce fever if there is any. Avoid giving your children Aspirins as this is known to cause Reye’s syndrome, a condition that damages the brain and liver and cause death in severe cases. Some doctors can prescribe ear drops to promote comfort and alleviate the pain.

To avoid ear aches in children we must take steps in preventing its cause – ear infections. If your child is fond of swimming you can advise him to use ear plugs to avoid fluid in the middle ear that easily attracts bacteria and viruses. Keep your child’s immune system healthy and strong by giving him nutritious foods to eat with lots of vitamins and minerals. Avoid frequent use of cotton swabs in the ear as this may cause more damage to the eardrums and can introduce bacteria into the inner ear. Avoid second hand smoke as this is one of the risk factors for ear infections along with frequent episodes of colds and flu.

Posted in Allergies, Child Safety, Growing PainsComments (1)