There are many tips medical professionals can give new parents especially those that their children show repetitive ear conditions. Here are tips that over my years in nursing I have shared with many new parents.
Otitis media tips for children.
The eustachian tube connects the nasal passages and the middle ear. The tube is shorter, wider and significantly straighter in an infant and therefore allows more organisms from the respiratory tract to travel into the middle ear thereby causing infection or otitis media.
Preventing otitis media is not always possible however there are several things that parents can do that can significantly decrease episodes of otitis media in their children.
Never prop up a bottle when feeding an infant. Hold the infant upright when feeding the infant or have the head significantly higher when feeding allowing the formula to drain properly and not back up into the eustachian tube to the middle ear.
Do not give an infant a bottle when lying down in bed. The milk will then pool in the middle ear and then organisms are encouraged to grow causing infection.
Protect young children from exposure to respiratory infections.
Keep young children away from excessive smoke, even secondary smoke can be harmful to their respiratory airway and can encourage middle ear problems. Parents shouldn’t allow smoking around children especially infants and toddlers.
Remove allergens from your home and if your child is allergic try to evaluate and determine their allergies and make an attempt to decrease any allergens that may bother their child. This practice will not only cut down on ear and nasal complaints but many other medical conditions caused by allergens such as skin problems.
Monitor small children for any symptoms of ear complaints such as pulling or tugging on ears, fever, crying and shaking of head, etc. If your child does exhibit any symptoms of a possible ear problem then they should be immediately evaluated by a medical professional and treated accordingly. Ear infections are very painful and can cause life long ear disease if not properly treated.
Monitor small children for any signs of hearing loss.
Teaching children to blow their nose will also cut down on eustachian tube problems and middle ear infections.
Otitis media care tips:
If your child exhibits any ear complaints they should be immediately evaluated and treated by a medical professional and if they do not get better or have recurrent infections they should see an ENT or ear nose and throat specialist.
Make sure your child takes the full dosage of medication given for their ear infection. Many young parents will stop antibiotics before the infection is completely cleared thereby the infection stays causing in many cases a recurrent ear infection.
Use a warmed towel or heating pad on low setting for comfort during a painful outbreak of otitis media. Monitor however the child at all times and do not let the child sleep on the heating pad it is only meant for short periods of comfort due to pain.
Keep air away from the infected ear, cool air flowing into the infected ear is often painful and many children choose to wear a head covering if their ear is infected such as a sock hat.
Give pain medications as indicated by your physician such as Tylenol.
Soft foods often help, as well as liquids since chewing often causes ear pain.
Monitor for any hearing loss in your child after an ear infection. If you notice any hearing loss promptly seek medical attention to evaluate for the cause of the acute hearing loss.
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