What Makes Children More Susceptible to Ear Infections?

Ear infections are very common in young children. In fact, did you know that five out of six children will have had at least one ear infection by the time they reach the age of three?

Recurring ear infections can be uncomfortable and frustrating for you and your child. For the support you need, get in touch with the pediatrics specialists at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center of Bel Air, Maryland, led by Dr. Ugonma (Ugo) Harriet Okparaocha.

Our experienced and compassionate team can help you understand more about your child’s ear infections, and recommend treatment options that may be able to lessen frequency and intensity of symptoms.

Causes of childhood ear infections

Most childhood ear infections are located in the middle ear, in the area behind the eardrum. Harmful bacteria enter the middle ear. As your child’s body mounts an immune response to repel the bacteria, pus can build up against the eardrum, causing pain.

The eustachian tube connects the middle ear to the back of the throat, creating a path for mucus drainage. If an ear infection causes inflammation and swelling in the eustachian tube, bacteria can multiply in that area.

Small children’s eustachian tubes are shorter than those in adult ears, and are also positioned more horizontally, allowing bacteria easier access to the middle ear. Additionally, the large adenoids located in the backs of children’s throats can block the eustachian tubes, further trapping bacteria in the middle ear.

Treatment and support for you and your child

While childhood ear infections are very common, some children are more susceptible to infections than others. Children’s immune systems are still developing in the first years of their lives, and may not be strong enough to fully fight off an ear infection.

The team at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center can address ear, nose, and throat problems in both young children and older teens. We have the experience you can trust when it comes to treating your child’s ear infection issues.

Dr. Okparaocha can treat ear infections in babies and children with antibiotic medication, and over-the-counter medications can help with uncomfortable symptoms. For chronic ear infections, which can potentially cause permanent hearing loss, your child might need a referral to an ENT specialist for a minor surgical procedure to drain fluid from the middle ear.

You might also need to adjust the way you bottle feed your infant to reduce the risk of ear infections, holding your baby at a 45-degree angle to keep fluids from flowing back into the eustachian tubes and causing problems.

To get your child examined for an ear infection by Dr. Okparaocha, or for any other medical issue, get in touch with Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center. You can book an appointment online, or call us at 410-504-6676 today to schedule.

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