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Children and Ear Infections
 

Millions of people get affected with ear infections yearly, however what makes this condition so distressing is the most of the people are children and babies due to the anatomy of their developing ears.

Studies have identified that most siblings have at least one ear infection by the time they have reached the age of 2 which does not get treated and lingers into early adulthood. It is these untreated infections that cause problems later on in life.

Children also love inserting foreign objects, along with their dirty hands in to their ears which can lead to damage.

Checks ups can also be done regularly on the ears to see if any ear problems such as vertigo and tinnitus or infections have developed. Vertigo and Tinnitus are more prevailed in the older generation and when an individual starts entering adulthood. This is because as one matures, they are more likely to enter environments that have loud noises of predispose them more to injury of the inner ear.

An ear infection can occur in any part of the ear, the external portion of the ear, middle portion of the ear or inner portion of the ear and is usually caused by bacteria or viruses.


Types of ear infections
 

The two common types of ear infections are:

  • Otitis Media- which is also known as middle ear infection affects the middle ear and can usually occur when one has just experienced a cold or flu. It is therefore essential that one treats any cold and flu as soon as it is identified. Common symptoms of Otitis Media are pain and increased temperature.

  • Otitis Externa- is when an infection occurs in the outer or external portion of the ear and is also known as swimmer’s Ear. Otitis externa occurs when an infection from bacteria or viruses affects the membrane lining of the auditory canal. This results in the lining becoming inflamed and swollen. Symptoms of otiitis externa are weeping ear and eardrops are usually prescribed by doctors to treat this condition.

If any ear infection is not treated correctly it can result in:

  1. Hearing loss/ear pain
  2. A blocked ear feeling
  3. A feeling of constant pressure within the ear, as if the ear is going to “pop”.
  4. Imbalance/Dizziness
  5. Tinnitus- This is a condition whereby a constant ringing, buzzing, hissing or whistling sound (depending on individual) is heard. This sound can occur in the ear or head and affects an individual’s ability to hear. Quiet environments can also make the noise unbearable.
  6. Recruitment- This condition can also be related to hearing loss and Vertigo. Vertigo is a condition whereby a person feels dizzy or has spinning sensations. These sensations can at times lead to nausea.
  7. Hyperacusis - Is a condition whereby a person has hypersensitive hearing and where everyday sounds seem to exert immense strain and pressure on their hearing? The sounds heard seem to be exaggerated and can be very painful.
  8. Meniere’s disease is a combination of tinnitus and vertigo and can also result’s in hearing loss.

Why are infections more prevalent in children?
 
  1. Young children do not contain sufficient antibodies to fight off infections. This makes them more prone to infections as their bodies immune system is still growing and requires nourishment with the correct nutrients and minerals.
    Vitamins and minerals along with nutritional supplements should be considered for all developing children.
  2. Studies have also found that a child's Eustachian tube is shorter than that of an adult Eustachian tube. This length difference will allow bacteria and viruses to invade their middle ears more easily and freely resulting in more ear infections and discomfort for a child or infant.
  3. Otitis Media occurs more frequently in children because of the degree of tilt in a child's Eustachian tube. The Eustachian tube acts like a bridge, connecting the nose to the middle ear.
    In adults, the Eustachian tubes are found to be more vertical placed compared to a child Eustachian Tube which has a more horizontal approach and placement.
  4. A child’s tubes are also narrower, thus resulting in an easier path for infections to migrate.
    The narrowness and angle of the tube in a child or infant causes the mucus to congest, resulting in blockages, pain and pressure.
    Stagnant mucus is the perfect breathing ground for bacteria and virus, making the mucus acidic and infected and resulting in an infection.

Other important factors that play an influence in children contracting ear infections are:

  1. Bottle-feeding an infant whilst the child is lying supine (flat on his/her back).
  2. When a child is at day-care centers he or she will interact with others children. This can result in viruses being spread more easily. Children also share utensils freely with other children making the spreading of germs easy.
  3. Swimming lessons for very young children can influence the amount of ear infections they have yearly.
  4. Allergies are also a main cause of infections (hypersensitive body)
  5. Secondary tobacco smoke, which is highly harmful to young individual’s lungs.
  6. Living in highly polluted areas can add to a risk of developing ear infections.
  7. Ear infections, colds and nasal disorders are reported to occur mostly in cold winter seasons.

Symptoms of an ear infection:
 

In most cases and studies, ear infections and sinusitis are related with colds, flu and allergies.
There are several signs that can indicate if a child has an ear infection. These include:

  1. Severe ear pain/or pressure can be complained of constantly.
  2. Dizziness or spinning sensations. (Vertigo)
  3. Reduced hearing or impaired hearing
  4. Ear discharge, frequent or periodic
  5. A feeling of blocked ears
  6. Fever. High fever and or a low grade fever can be experienced. 
  7. Vomiting or Nausea
  8. Loss of balance
  9. A feeling of lethargy and drowsiness
  10. Reduced hearing or impaired hearing
  11. A constant buzzing or hissing sound being heard
  12. Meniere’s disease, consisting of tinnitus, vertigo and hearing loss.
  13. Children’s adenoids often become swollen, inflamed and enlarged when ear infections occur. This often interferes with the opening of the Eustachian tube. The adenoids are lymph nodes found on the posterior, lateral walls of the tongue.

Treatment for ear infection:
 
  1. When confronted with any of the cold or flu symptoms or an ear infection is suspected, please visit or take your child to an ENT or GP as soon as possible.
  2. It has been found that breast fed children have fewer ear infections per year. This is because essential antibodies are transferred to the child through a mother’s milk.
  3. A common method of treating ear infections is antibiotics. When taking antibiotics, it is important to replenish a child or adults natural body bacteria with a suitable pro-biotic as antibiotics kill both good bacteria and bad bacteria. This results in the individual having a lower immune system than normal, and makes it easier for viruses to infect the body.

There are different treatment options available and treatments vary according to funding and financial freedom. One important thing to remember is that the main aim of the treatment should be to rid the body of the virus or bacteria that has caused the infection while also treating the underlying cause with the least possible side effects to one’s body.


Natural Treatments for Ear Infections in Children
 
EarAche Twinkles
(Earaches in Children)


Helps soothe earache, treats ear inflammation in children and babies.

LEARN MORE >>
SinusWars4 - Ear Infections


Treats Ear infection, Vertigo (Dizziness), EarAches, pain and headaches.

LEARN MORE >>

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Relieves Sinus Pressure and Pain
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