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Ear Infection Prevention

Who is most likely to get ear infections?

  • Boys more than girls
  • Bottle-fed infants more than breast fed
  • Children in large families or who are in day care
  •  centers
  • Infants whose mother smoked during pregnancy
  •  or who are subjected to second-hand smoke
  • Children with allergies or who have numerous colds

Ear Exam (Color)

Preventive Measures

Even if you must place your child in a day care center, there are preventive measures you can take at home:
  • Breast feed your baby if possible, or if you do use a bottle, elevate your baby's head to help keep the Eustachian tube clear by raising the head end of the mattress. [The Eustachian tube connects the middle ear with the respiratory system, and because bacteria can work their way up the tube into the middle ear, it is a route for infections. Putting your baby flat on its back with a propped-up bottle invites ear infections.] An English study reports more ear infections in infants who sleep face down than in those who sleep face up. 
Since most ear infections follow colds, try to make your home more cold-proof. Allergies, dust, cigarette smoke, and exposure to others with colds, all can be minimized by home cleanliness and the frequent washing of hands. Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control:
  • Teach children (if old enough) to cover their mouths with a disposable tissue when they cough and blow their noses. 
  • Only use a tissue once and then immediately throw it away.
  • Try to prevent children from sharing toys that they put in their mouths.
  • If practical, wash and disinfect these toys before allowing children to play with them again.
  • If your child shows allergic reactions to certain foods (milk products are often listed), find alternatives.
  • Above all, make sure children and adults use good hand washing practices.

''Ear infections are one of the most frequently diagnosed, misdiagnosed, and over treated of childhood illnesses. In my view, ear infections are not emergencies and thus have no real reason to be in the hospital emergency room. Treat the pain and wait until morning.'' Dr. Rod Moser, EARS, An Owner's Manual

Note:  We are not doctors so cannot offer you medical advice.  Your best course of action is to work in close partnership with medically trained individuals who support home ear care.


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