Ear Infections in Babies Part 3

Ear Infections in Babies Part 3Ear infections are an unfortunate part of the territory with young ears. Sometimes ear infections in babies are unavoidable and some babies are more prone to them than others. However, there are some ways to help prevent ear infections in babies.

Breastfeeding: Breastfed babies have fewer incidences of ear infections. According to the CDC, breastfeeding reduces the risk of ear infections in babies by up to 70%. Breastfeeding provides babies with essential antibodies that help boost their immature immune systems to prevent illness. Also, the more frequent act of sucking may assist in clearing pressure and fluid buildup in the ear.

Immunizations: It may seem like the recommended vaccines for your baby in the first few years of life are endless, but they are all for good cause. Several of them, including the Hib vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine and the flu shot, all aim to prevent illnesses that can lead to ear infections. Stay current on your baby’s immunizations to help prevent ear infections.

No Smoking: Exposure to tobacco smoke significantly increases your baby’s risk of sickness including ear infections. If someone smokes in your house, your baby is 37-62% more likely to have ear infections and many children in smoking homes wind up needing middle ear surgeries. Even being around smoke casually can affect your baby.

Eliminate the Pacifier: Studies link prolonged use of pacifiers (after 6 months of age) to more frequent ear infections. If your baby needs a pacifier for comfort, limit it to sleep times only.

Eat Healthy: Like breastfeeding, a nutritious diet of immune-boosting fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help prevent ear infections in babies. Go for antioxidant-rich foods and skip the excess fats, sugar and salt. Babies have no need for them anyways.

Drink Upright: When your baby drinks breast milk or water from a bottle or sippy cup, ensure she is sitting upright. This ensures all fluids go down the right channels and fluids don’t build up in the middle ear.

Beware of Allergens: Because your baby is so new to the world, you may not know what allergens will affect her. Additionally, she may be more sensitive to certain allergens because she is so young. Avoid sleeping with stuffed animals that may carry germs and wash your carpets and pets often.

Ear infections in babies are only an issue for the first two or three years. After that point the Eustachian tubes elongate and curve to prevent fluid from remaining in the ear and becoming infected.

We hope you’ve learned the causes, symptoms, treatments, risks and prevention methods for ear infections in babies from our series. Wishing your baby much health!

Sources: WebMD, BabyCenter and Parenting

Ear Infections in Babies Part 2

The dreaded ear infection.  It usually strikes after your baby has already been sick with an upper respiratory condition such as a cold, sinus infection or allergies. Just when you think she’s recuperating, wham, she shows signs of an ear infection. Your poor sweet baby is miserable again. This is often the way it plays out when it comes to ear infections in babies.

Yesterday we explored the causes and symptoms of ear infections in babies. As soon as you recognize a sign of an ear infection, it’s important to find out if it is indeed an infection or something else. The symptoms of ear infections can also be signs of teething, digestive issues or other illnesses. But if the symptoms follow a period of nasal congestion, it’s likely to be an ear infection and it’s worth a trip to your pediatrician to find out.

Ear Infections in Babies Part 2Fortunately, ear infections are highly treatable with antibiotics. Once diagnosed, your doctor will find the right medication for your baby and she should start feeling better within a few days. It is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics to ensure the infection is completely demolished.

It is essential to treat ear infections quickly and thoroughly to avoid long term damage to the eardrum. Also, ear infections reduce vibrations in the ear that are associated with sound. When ear infections are repeatedly left untreated they may lead to hearing loss. This can delay a baby’s speech and affect her ability to speak properly throughout her lifetime.

The bad news about ear infections is that they can come back time and time again in early childhood. Until your baby’s middle ear matures, the Eustachian tube remains a breeding ground for bacterial and viral infections. And of course you don’t want your baby to take too many antibiotics at such a young age as it can impair her immune system permanently.

If your baby has repeated ear infections, your pediatrician may recommend inserting tubes in your baby’s ears. The hollow plastic structures are inserted into an incision in the eardrum to allow fluid to drain and more air to flow through the area. This should help reduce the chance of ear infections and relieve discomfort your baby may feel if she does have fluid buildup. The surgery is done by an otolaryngologist and the procedure is called a myringotomy.

Later this week we’ll examine ways to prevent ear infections to help avoid risk of ear infections in babies.

Sources: WebMD, BabyCenter and Parenting