An ear infection may be one of the most dreaded illnesses a baby can get. This is because it is painful for the baby to deal with and for parents to witness because they feel helpless until a doctor can properly diagnose the condition. And while getting an ear infection or two is a normal part of growing up, some babies seem to have them consistently. Leaving parents to wonder why their baby keeps suffering from reoccurring ear infections.
While it may seem like all ear infections are the same, they are not. There are three different types that are all related to one another. The most common of which, according to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders is the middle ear infection where fluid gets trapped behind the eardrum. If that fluid gets trapped, however, it turns into an ear infection where babies may present with no symptoms at all.
And if it is not recognized that there is trapped fluid, the ear infections could become common and potentially lead to hearing loss. While this may be rare, it emphasizes the necessity to treat ear infections as early as possible to get them under control quickly.
Here are some reasons babies keep suffering from reoccurring ear infections.
Causes Of Baby’s Ear Infection
Given that babies are still developing their immune systems, they are more prone to infections than older siblings or adults, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. And many times, those infections lead to an ear infection.
The reason that get ear infections is that, per the publication, there is infections in the body. Many times, this results from babies having a cold or infection, and the bacteria causing the illness to occur spreads to the lower portion of the ear where the nose and throat meet. And given that babies have small Eustachian tubes, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it is easy for the infection to build quickly. Making for a very painful situation for babies to deal with.
Symptoms Of Baby’s Ear Infection
Parents may know some symptoms of ear infections, but others may be lesser-known. Being aware of all can mean the difference between babies getting treatment immediately versus suffering from an ear infection for longer than necessary.
According to Blank Children’s Hospital, symptoms of an ear infection include:
- Pulling on the ears
- Inability to lay down
- Excessive crying
- Drainage from the ears
- Problems eating
- Problems sleeping
Many times, babies will have more than one symptom when fighting an ear infection. When this happens, parents will likely recognize what they are dealing with immediately. And the sooner a healthcare professional can be seen, the more rest both babies and parents will get as little ones’ bodies work at fighting off their ear infections.
Why Baby Gets Reoccurring Ear Infection
Some babies will have few to no ear infections during infancy, others are not so lucky and may have several in a short period. Many times, according to The Harley Street Ear Nose & Throat Clinicthis is because the ear infection is never completely healed, and trapped fluid is causing the infection to continue to flare up.
Per the publication, a condition called ‘chronic otitis media’ is generally to blame for babies suffering from chronic ear infections. When the fluid gets trapped behind the ears, the Eustachian tube is not big enough to allow the water to drain. Because of this, the infection will remain. And at the first sign of inflammation in the body, the ear infection will make its presence known in a very painful way.
How To Treat Baby’s Reoccurring Ear Infection
If it is determined that babies indeed have a persistent ear infection, there are several ways that ear infections can be treated.
Some of those ways, according to Children’sHealth include:
- OTC medications
- Ear drops
- Tubes being surgically placed in the ears
- Surgery to remove adenoids
- Repair to the eardrum via surgery
- Ear bone surgery
- Removal of cysts in the ear via surgery
There are many ways to treat reoccurring ear infections in babies depending on the severity and condition presenting. And once that relief is found, the hope is that as infants grow, they will outgrow chronic ear infections as well.
Ways To Keep Ear Infections From Occurring
Ear infections are likely to happen regardless of how hard parents try to keep them from happening. But, according to VeryWell Health, there are ways to reduce the chances of ear infections for babies. Those ways include:
- Do not smoke around the baby
- Stay up to date on baby’s vaccinations
- Keep babies clear of others with colds
- Hold baby upright when bottle-feeding
- Breastfeeding to help fight infections with antibodies in the milk
Ear infections are common. But with a few preventative steps, babies may be able to get fancy with less or none occurring which is beneficial for both babies and parents alike.
Source: National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Blank Children’s Hospital, The Harley Street Ear Nose & Throat Clinic, Children’sHealth, VeryWell Health
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