Chronic Ear Infections


Oh Gosh! It was not too long ago that your baby recovered from an ear infection. And alas! The infection has struck again. By now you are familiar with the symptoms of ear infection – grumpy mood, sleepless nights, runny nose, appetite loss and meddling with ear. But going through the same phase again seems like a nightmare.

Earache is common in babies, but if it is not healing or is recurring, it might be bad for your baby. This recurring or untreated earache is known as chronic ear infection.

What Causes Chronic Ear Infection?

The most common type of ear infection is Acute Otitis Media (ACM), which is caused due to cold or upper respiratory infection. When the Eustachian tube, a tube that links the middle ear to the throat, swells or gets blocked, an ear infection occurs. If this fluid is not drained, it leads to pain and even rupturing of the eardrum.

How to Treat Chronic Ear Infection?

For a normal ear infection, doctors prefer a wait-and-watch approach. If the situation worsens then the doctor starts with treatment. Every earache is different and so the treatment too differs from case to case.

In most of the cases doctors begin with antibiotics. If the antibiotics are not doing any good and the pain still persists then they move on to the second step, that is, using a Tympanostomy tube. Inserted in the eardrum, after draining the fluid, this tiny plastic or metal tube provides the required passage in the middle ear and prevents infection. This tube falls out itself after 10-12 months.

In some rare cases doctors may ask to remove your kid’s adenoids or pharyngeal tonsils. However, this is not recommended. Check all possibilities, weigh the pros and cons, and if possible, take a second opinion before agreeing for such treatment.

Preventing Chronic Ear Infection

Like other infections, chronic ear infection too can be prevented. These are the ways to reduce the risk of a chronic ear infection:

  1. Stay up-to-date with your child’s vaccination. Vaccines safeguard your kid from bacteria and viruses which can cause ear infection.
  1. Take proper treatment for ear infection and visit the doctor to make sure it is treated properly.
  1. Stop smoking around your baby.
  1. Breastfeed your child for at least the first year.
  1. Maintain an impeccable hygiene around your baby.

The Eustachian tube in children is smaller than in grown-ups, hence they are more prone to ear infections. You need to practice prevention to keep your kids safe. Remember “Treatment without prevention is simply unsustainable.”



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