Tips to prevent ear infections
A few tips to help keep your child’s ears infection free!
Ear infections are not fun for you or your child. There is nothing worse than a child who doesn’t feel well, especially in the middle of the night. It seems most ear infections become obvious when your child does not sleep, which makes it a long night for both of you! Some children are more prone to ear infections than others, but there are a few things that parents can do to maybe reduce the risk of ear infections.
- Children that live in homes where there is a parent that smokes have a much higher incidence of ear infections. Smoking is not healthy for anyone and secondhand smoke is very harmful for children. Adults who smoke should not smoke in the house and should not hold a child without changing clothes. A child can be exposed to secondhand smoke from clothing too!
- Make sure that your child’s vaccines are up to date. The vaccines that prevent meningitis like the HIB and Prevnar decrease your child’s chances of ear infections too!
- Breastfeed your infant if possible. Breast fed babies have fewer bacterial and viral infections.
- Be sure that pacifiers and toys are cleaned regularly and hands are washed. Germs can be spread easily that cause upper respiratory infections that may increase ear infections.
- Be sure your child gets a flu shot! This vaccine will help prevent respiratory flu and ear infections too! While you are at it…get a flu shot yourself!
Some children will develop ear infections even when parents do all the “right” things…their little ears have narrower eustachian tubes (the tubes that connect the ear to the back of the throat) and they are more horizontal. Often these tubes become inflamed with a cold and swell and trap infection in the middle ear. Once your child is about age 3, those tubes become wider and more vertical like an adult and this often decreases the incidence of ear infections. So Mom and Dad, do what you can to keep your child healthy, but sometimes ear infections are just part of childhood!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.