Ear Infections in Children
Rodney Lusk, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Rodney Lusk, Director of the Boys Town Ear, Nose and Throat institute.
Did you know that ear infections are the most common reason that parents bring their child to a doctor.
There are two general reasons for increased infections in children. The first is an immature immune system and the second is poor Eustachian tube function.
Newborns have circulating antibodies from their mothers. These antibodies circulate for six months. After six months your child will need to make antibodies on their own, if your child has more exposure to viruses, like in daycare, he or she may be at greater risk for infections.
Secondly, air has to get into the middle ear through the Eustachian tube, which connects to the middle ear from the back part of the nose.
The Eustachian tube is short, horizontal, and floppy in infants and children. Consequently it does not work well. As the base of the skull grows Eustachian tube function improves which is one of the reasons why children outgrow their problems.
These are a few of the things you can do to decrease ear infections.
Limit your child's exposure to colds during the first two years of his life, breast-feed your baby during the first six to 12 months of life, if bottle feeding, hold your child at a 45 degree angle, if your child spits up frequently this may be a significant sign of reflux and it should be treated, limit second hand smoke.
Ear infections can occur in any season but are more frequent during the winter.
The severity of the symptoms may vary with every child. If you have any concerns about your child's hearing or frequency of infections please contact your primary care provider.
For more information and videos on pediatric ear, nose and throat problems, please visit boystownent.org