Ear Infections Got You Down?

Is your child suffering from inner ear infections? You are not alone, acute otitis media is the most common condition for which antibiotics are prescribed in the US. Between 84 and 93% of children with have at least one episode by the time they are 1 year old and the average toddler will have 2-3 infections per year.

Children are at greater risk for ear infections because their Eustachian tube, which is responsible for draining the fluid from the inner ear, is shorter, narrower and more horizontal. When inflammation from microbes or allergies causes this tube to swell the inner ear fills with fluid creating a breeding ground for bacteria.

There are well-known risk factors for developing frequent ear infections:
• Spending time in daycare with 4 or more children
• Exposure to tobacco smoke or pollution
• Pacifier use
• Teething
• Underlying disease such as cleft palate and allergies
• Children who are breastfed for less than 3 months

There are several things parents can do at home to help:
• Contact Master Home Environmentalist for a free home evaluation and get tips on how to decrease your child’s exposure to environmental allergens.
• Onion ear muffs, gently heat an onion half and hold it over your childs ears. The volatile oils are anti-microbial and decrease inflammation while the warmth is soothing to irritated ears.
• Conscious food introduction can identify food allergies that increase inflammation.
• Discontinue pacifier use or only allow your child to use a pacifier that has been thoroughly disinfected.

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