Ear infections are the most frequent childhood illness due their short narrow Eustachian tube.
Because the Eustachian tube drains into the back of the nose and throat, germs and common cold viruses can travel up this tube and cause an infection of the middle ear space.
Factors which can predispose children to more ear infections
- Ear ache is most prominent symptom often accompanied by a fever.
- Common cold is usually present with ear infections.
- Painkillers such as Neurofen or paracetamol is the usual treatment.
- As most ear infections are viral therefore antibiotics are not always prescribed. Your GP can determine if antibiotic need to be prescribed.
- The ear drum can naturally burst which allows drainage of the infection and a yellow runny discharge will leak out of the ear.
- Active and passive smoking
- Allergic background
- Communal lifestyle, infections are easily spread in schools, large family, play centres....
How to minimise the risk
- The temperature of the room must be maintained between 18 and 19 degrees.
- Smoking : avoid smoking in the presence of a baby.
- Weaning off their dummy as 30% of additional ear infections are in babies who suck on a dummy.
- Keep your child away from people with coughs colds and respiratory tract infections.
- Do not kiss your baby if you have flu
- Avoid large crowds of people, supermarkets, buses especially during outbreaks of bronchiolitis.
- Wash your hands before changing and feeding your baby