Treatment Of Ear Infections In Young Children

Ear infections occur with most young children. Early diagnosis and proper medical treatment will help parents fight this painful childhood illness.

My granddaughter just turned one year old, and we are all quite happy that she has pretty much survived a difficult first year caused by the occurrences of ear infections.

Ear infections, although quite common in young children, still produce a sense of helplessness in parents. But knowing the signs to look for, what to expect, and how this type of infection is treated can lessen some of that helpless feeling, and make those first few years with a child less stressful, especially for new parents.

An ear infection will usually start out with a cold or sinus infection. My granddaughter was only a few months old when she developed a bad cold, which eventually resulted in painful, difficult to treat infections in both ear.



Basically how this happens is that inside the external ear is an ear canal. This canal leads to the eardrum, behind which is the middle ear. Located there are tiny bones that vibrate and produce the different sounds that we hear. A long thin tube called the eustachian tube, leads to the back of the throat. At the opening of this tube toward the brain is the adenoid. When a child develops a cold these adenoids enlarge, and this enlargement essentially blocks the eustachian tubes. As a result, fluid starts to form, and then collects in the middle ear cavity. Since bacteria is usually present in this area, the bacteria multiplies within this fluid. An infection is the result.

At times the presence of an ear infection can be without symptoms. If this is the case, the signs to look are tugging at the ear, especially by infants who have not yet learned to talk. Also crankiness, whining, and a slight fever around bedtime. Poor appetite, even diarrhea are good indications of an ear infection.

A course of medical treatment is required to treat these sometimes stubborn infections, which is namely antibiotics.

In some cases fluid can build up inside the ear, causing great pain. A ruptured eardrum can result, producing a pinhole perforated area. In fact what is known as a myringotomy, a procedural treatment used before antibiotics was a deliberate puncture made inside the eardrum in order to relieve the pressure caused by the buildup of fluid.

If an ear infection continues, another treatment that might be recommended is the insertion of tiny plastic tubes into the ear in order to help the fluid drain. This has not been proven to be as effective a treatment as in some cases no marked improvement has resulted by its implementation.

If fluid remains inside the ear, even when the infection has been cleared, this is a condition known as serous otitis, which is essentially a chronic condition. Again plastic tubes inserted in the ear may be recommended, plus removal of the adenoids, all of which would of course have to be discussed with a qualified physician.

As a child develops, the eustachian tube grows and thankfully the occurrences of ear infections do decrease. But in the meantime, ear infections will undoubtedly occur with most young children. But if parents are vigilant and aware, and obtain early diagnoses, with proper medical treatment, i.e. the use of antibiotics, tube insertions, etc. this will at least help fight this all too painful childhood illness.

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