Ear infections are caused by bacteria and are relatively easy to get. Infants and toddlers are especially vulnerable to chronic ear infections. If you’re a parent, then the odds are high that you recognize the signs of an ear infection. Some of the symptoms include tugging at the ear, crying, fever, and irritability.
Whenever a child has a cold or infection, the Eustachian tube can become swollen. Once they become swollen, and because a child’s tubes are not as big as an adult’s tubes, it’s a lot easier for fluid to build up. When the fluid builds up, this is what causes the pain.
If your child has three or more ear infections within twelve months, this is considered a chronic ear infection. Chronic ear infections occur when the fluid doesn’t go away completely or keeps coming back.
Some symptoms of a chronic ear infection can include a low-grade fever and pressure in the ear. Chronic ear infections aren’t fatal but can cause the eardrum to rupture and hearing loss.
Kids, especially infants and toddlers, can get chronic ear infections because of their age. Young children can get ear infections from chronic health conditions, and being in a high risk environment (such as day care) is also a factor. The germs that cause ear infections can spread easily from one person to another.
The treatment for chronic ear infections starts the same way as it does for a regular ear infection. The doctor may not prescribe medication right away because some ear infections will go away once the cold or upper respiratory infection is gone.
If the ear infection does not go away, the pediatrician might suggest draining the ear of fluid. In some cases, tubes are placed in the ear. The tubes are not meant to be in the ear permanently. One medical research study suggests that the bacteria associated with chronic ear infections uses a defensive coating to resist treatment from antibiotics.
If you notice any signs of an ear infection, it’s always best to have a doctor check it out. Prevention is always the best course of action, so ask family or friends who have a cold or other infectious illness to refrain from visiting until they’re better and practice good hygiene.