Why are Children So Prone to Ear Infections?
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Ear infections are a painful and frustrating problem that affects millions of Americans every year. They can strike at any age, but they are most common for toddlers and young children. In fact, 5 out of 6 children get an ear infection before they turn 3. Many parents are confused as to why they are so common in their children and if it is something to be concerned about. Luckily, East Texas Sinus and Dizziness Center is here to help. However, before we go into the reasons behind why ear infections are so common in kids, we’ll need to go into what causes them.

What are ear infections?

Ear infections, also known as otitis media, is inflammation in the middle ear. This inflammation is what causes the pain in between the eardrum and eustachian tubes, where most infections occur. The eustachian tube is the connector between ears, throat, and nose. Inflammation in the tube causes it to narrow and prevent fluid from draining. This causes pressure and pain in the ear.

Why are they more prevalent in children?

The reasons that children get ear infections, for the most part, point back to the eustachian tubes. In young children, these tubes are much smaller, and more level. The fluid is easily trapped in them under NORMAL conditions. This is why it is possible for children to develop ear infections on their own. However, it is more common that children get ear infections following a cold, or sinus infection. Infections are likely to cause swelling and fluid build-up.

Developing immune systems are another factor that weighs into children getting ear infections. Children’s immune systems struggle to combat infections of any kind, which makes it hard for them to fight off ear infections, or their causes. Since children’s immune systems are still developing, it makes it particularly easier for them to contract infections as well.

Children who drink from a bottle lying down or use pacifiers are more likely to develop ear infections as well. In fact, babies who nurse for about a year get fewer ear infections.

How do I know that my child has an ear infection?

The first sign that your child has an ear infection is irritability. The pain and pressure in their ears will make them cranky. While toying or fidgeting with their ears may seem like a clear-cut sign, this needs to be combined with other symptoms. One symptom that people do not usually associate with ear infections is a loss of appetite. Ear infections can make chewing painful, this results in children not wanting to eat as often. The pain in their ears can also make it difficult for children to sleep. So being extra tired or frequently waking up can also point to ear infections. As per most types of infections, fever is also common.

What can I do to mitigate the risk of ear infections?

Ear infections can seem like an unavoidable part of the child development process, but there certainly are a few things that parents can do to prevent them.

  • Vaccinate your children: Vaccinating your child helps prevent diseases that can lead to ear infections.
  • Wash your hands frequently: Washing your hands frequently makes it more difficult for germs to follow you home from work and infect your children.
  • Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke: Numerous studies have shown that exposing your child to cigarette smoke dramatically increases the likelihood that they will develop ear infects.

East Texas Sinus & Dizziness Center has been the premier ENT practice in Longview, TX since 2013. So, if your child has been suffering from ear infections, and you are unable to discover the cause, please contact us right away.

Published by easttexas on: May 21, 2020
Category: Ear Infections