An ear infection can be a serious threat to your children’s growth and development.
Common symptoms such as loss of hearing and sense of balance can occur among those with this health complication. Knowing the symptoms, prevention and early treatment is the key to protecting your child’s hearing.
The following is a guide on how ear infections occur and how to prevent them.
Type of ear infections
The different types of ear infections depend on which part of the ear is affected.
Outer ear (Otitis Externa)
An outer ear infection usually occurs among swimmers. This is due to the moisture and heat which help create a breeding environment for bacteria inside your ear. Excessive brushing or rubbing of the ear canal can rupture the skin which increases the chance of an infection occurring.
Mid ear (Otitis Media)
Otitis Media is an infection found in the area between the inner ear and eardrum. Although this condition can occur regardless of age, children are usually the most afflicted by this.
Otitis Media’s symptoms include ear aches and irritation. There are other cases of this type of infection such as glue-like fluid filling the middle ear. This condition is known as Otitis Media with effusion or glue ear.
Inner ear (Labyrinthitis)
This type of infection is less common than the ones above and is the most severe type. Labyrinthitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. People with this condition are highly at risk of permanent hearing loss.
Guide to preventing ear infections among children
The reason why children are more susceptible to ear infections is due to their daily exposure to microorganisms. Their hands are often touching surfaces which are breeding grounds for bacteria.
An infection can occur if they put unclean fingers to their ears. This can spread the infection along their ear canal.
Here are some ways you can prevent ear infection from occurring:
- Promote proper hand and general hygiene practices. This includes cleaning hands with water and soap.
- Encourage children to bring hand sanitisers.
- Keep a close eye on toddlers as they play. Stop them from inserting dirty objects into their mouth or ears.
- Have your children receive the right immunisation. This can help prevent diseases which can lead to ear infections.
- Bring your children to a physician for regular check-ups.
- Discourage the use of pacifiers once a baby is more than six months old. Toddler’s, who are more than 12 months old, have an increased chance of getting an ear infection if they are still using a pacifier. This is typically due to pacifiers being an ideal breeding environment for bacteria.
How ear infections are treated
Treatment for Otitis Externa and Otitis Media are intended for pain relief. The condition usually clears on its own within two days.
People with an ear infection should rest and avoid touching their ear to avoid worsening the condition. If the pain persists or if you suspect the condition is Labyrinthitis, consult a doctor as soon as possible.
After going through everything above, you should now be more informed about ear infections and how to prevent this from happening.