Ear Infections in Babies
Toddlers and infants have a wide variety of conditions that they are susceptible to at such an early age. One to be aware of during routine checkups are ear infections. Although ear infections are generally very mild and treatable, if ignored they could cause lifelong damage. Information regarding causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention could prove to be useful to a parent in need.
Bacteria is usually at fault for infection in the ear, but it could also be the work of a virus. Infections start when liquid pools up behind the ear drum instead of flowing down the Eustachian tube which connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. Germs breed in warm dark places and the fluid buildup is a prime location for infection to spawn. Studies have shown that there is a 33% increase for ear infections with babies who regularly use pacifiers. Since the babies Eustachian tube is 3 times smaller than an adults it does not adequately drain consistent fluid buildup.
Ear infections are easily identifiable and if treated properly will be very short lived and relatively painless. However, an untreated ear infection could lead to scarring of the eardrum and even permanent loss of hearing. There are multiple symptoms that may be linked to an ear infection, the first of which will include spontaneous crying and mood swings. This is a perfect opportunity to catch an infection in a very early stage and treat it before it becomes a real problem. A fever and pulling and tugging at the ears almost ensures an ear infection, also diarrhea is caused by the same bacteria as ear infections so it is likely to be a symptom. If these symptoms are present a close look at the ear will provide further information allowing the parent to diagnose the issue.
The key to treating an ear infection is a doctors appointment. At the first sign of an infection it is suggested that the parent set an appointment with a pediatrician for a closer look. The doctor will perform standard procedures and decide how to treat the infection. Usually ear infections will clear up on their own as the fluid drains from the middle ear. Since infections can be very dangerous for babies, they will usually prescribe an antibiotic for safe measure and suggest that the parent provide ibuprofen for the pain. It is then the responsibility of the parent to administer the entire prescription and check-up with the doctor if needed.
Infections are a common occurrence during early childhood. Exposure to germs at play places and day cares increase the chance of infection. Keeping an infant free of germs is a feat that cannot be attained reasonably so a parents best bet is to thoroughly clean babies often and sustain a germ free household. It is also suggested that parents keep their children up to date on their vaccines and if possible, breast feed them throughout their infancy. Breast milk has shown to greatly decrease the risk of infection, in fact formula fed babies have a 70% higher chance of coming down with an infection. Lastly, limit your infants exposure to tobacco smoke as this raises the risk of infection and has been known to be the source of many health issues.
Infections in infants are almost guaranteed. The severity of the infection can be limited to mild discomfort a very high percentage of the time with proper treatment. Parents are told to constantly be on the lookout for minor symptoms and always be ready to phone a pediatrician with questions that need answers.