Common Causes of Ear Infections in Children and How Your Pediatric ENT Can Help
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By Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center
May 19, 2016
Category: ENT

If your child is suffering from an ear infection in San Antonio, TX, you need the services and expertise of an ear, nose, and throat ear infectionspecialist such as Dr.Christine Gilliam with Everyone’s ENT & Sinus Center.

Ear infections are common in children. In fact, the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) estimates five out of six children in the United States will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday.

Ear infections usually occur in the middle ear, which is located between the ear drum and inner ear and contains three bones which help transmit sound to the inner ear. What happens is fluid builds up behind the ear drum trapping bacteria, which causes inflammation. This often happens after a child has already developed an upper respiratory bacterial infection or a cold.

Other parts of the ear, such as the Eustachian tubes, which connect the upper throat to the inner ear and the adenoids, tiny patches of tissue near the Eustachian tubes and back of the throat can become infected as well.

Symptoms of an ear infection can include but are not limited to

  • Tugging or pulling on the affected ear
  • Fussiness or irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of balance
  • Fever
  • Fluid draining from ear
  • Inability to hear quiet sounds

The most common ear infection, according to the NIDCD, is known as acute otitis media or AOM. This type of infection occurs when parts of the middle ear become infected and swollen and traps fluid behind the eardrum, causing inflammation and pain.

Another common ear infection, otitis media with effusion (OME) sometimes occurs when the AOM infection has run its course but the fluid is still trapped behind the ear drum.

A third major category, chronic otitis media with effusion (COME) occurs when fluid remains trapped in the inner ear for a long time or continually recurs. This type of infection not only makes it difficult for a child to fight off new infections but it can affect a child’s hearing.

Your San Antonio ENT, Dr. Gilliam, will probably prescribe a round of antibiotics to clear up the infection. It is important that your child takes the medication exactly as directed. Your child should feel better with a few days.

Because AOM infections can be painful, your San Antonio ENT may also prescribe over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen to ease the pain. However, one very important point to remember is that you should never give your child aspirin unless directed by the doctor, because aspirin has been identified as a risk factor for a very serious medical condition known as Reye’s Syndrome.

If your child’s ear infections keep coming back, we may suggest implanting tiny air tubes in your child’s ears to help improve air flow and drainage.

If you need to take your child to a caring, qualified ENT in San Antonio, contact Everone’s ENT and Sinus Center at 210-647-3838.

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