Anyone with a child with an ear infection knows just how bad it can be. The pain, fever, discomfort, crying, trouble sleeping, hearing problems, fluid draining, the list goes on and on. Recurring and chronic ear infections can be a serious issue. It is important to understand the facts, why they happen, what you can do about them, and how to avoid them.

An ear infection occurs when the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear with the back of the throat and nose, becomes inflamed. It typically swells causing fluid to build up behind the eardrum, causing pressure and germs to become trapped.

Because children’s Eustachian tubes are more horizontal and shorter than adults, it is harder for fluid to drain. Making them more susceptible to ear infections.

There are three main types of ear infections

Acute otitis media- This is the most common ear infection among children. The middle ear becomes infected, fluid is trapped behind the eardrum. Usually accompanied by an earache and fever.

Otitis media with effusion- Fluid stays trapped behind the eardrum after an ear infection has run its course. This type may not present any symptoms, but still needs to be addressed by a doctor.

Chronic otitis media with effusion- Occurs when fluid keeps returning to the middle ear or remains there for a significant amount of time, even though there may not be an infection. This can affect a Childs hearing and make it harder for them to fight off new infections.

Treatments for an Ear infection

Most ear infections are treated with antibiotics. Within a few days your child should start feeling better. For chronic ear infections, if the fluid doesn’t go away, or the ear infections are reoccurring, the doctors at Orlando Ears Nose & Throat can help.

How Can You Prevent Your Child From Getting an Ear Infection?

To help prevent future ear infections, make sure your child washes his/her hands often, staying up to date on the flu vaccine, limit exposure to second hand smoke, and limit their time spent with those who are sick.

One of the most common ways kids catch diseases is by touching their face and spreading bacteria from their hands to their eyes, nose, or mouth. Teaching your child how and when to wash his or her hands can help to prevent that.

Proper hand washing technique: With soap and warm water, scrub the entire hand including the back, between the fingers, and around the nails for at least 20 seconds. If you send your child to school with hand sanitizer, make sure it’s at least 60% alcohol.

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