What Causes Ear Infections in Children?

Parents who have children that are prone to ear infections know exactly the feelings that erupt when your child begins to complain about their ears hurting. “Oh No, not again!” is usually the first reaction. We all want to help our children in this situation the best we can but before you will be able to help protect your child from ear infections you first need to have a thorough understanding of the reasons why children get ear infections in the first place.

There are two main forms of ear infections, and both have their own unique root causes to take into consideration and plan against. There are also a number of factors that seem to be able to cause either form of ear infection.

The Common Causes

  1. There seems to be some sort of hereditary basis for ear infections. While these infections haven’t exactly been linked to a specific genetic defect, if members of your family regularly get ear infections than you are more likely to get them yourself.
  2. Aside from heredity there are plenty of environmental conditions which have been shown to increase the incidence of ear infections in children. When a child is regularly exposed to smoking their likelihood of getting chronic ear infections increases. The more children that your child comes in contact with also increases their chances of getting ear infections.
  3. A number of actions are also shown to reduce the chance of your child coming down with regular ear infections. Breastfeeding your child is one of these actions, as bottle-fed children are more likely to suffer from these infections. This might be due to the fact that drinking while laying down is a risk factor for these infections in babies.

The Roots of Middle Ear Infections

These ear infections in children come about due to previous respiratory infections. More specifically, infections in the upper track of their respiratory systems. This form of infection often causes inflammation in your child’s ear drum, and also often produces an increased amount of fluid behind the drum.

It’s inside this fluid that bacteria will build up and replicate and eventually infect your child’s ear. This form of ear infection is easily diagnosable due to the redness of your child’s ear drum, which is also likely to be swollen from the pressure effecting it from pus.

The middle ear infection results in ear pain, first and foremost, though it can also create a mild fever in your child.

What Causes Ear Infections

The Roots of Outer Ear Infections

The outer ear infection is usually known by its more common name- swimmers ear. This form of ear infection is caused when your child gets water in their ear. Like the fluid buildup of middle ear infections, the water that gets into your child’s ear can become a breeding ground for bacteria and is likely to cause inflammation.

Outer ear infections cause an uncomfortable amount of pain, which usually manifests itself as a dull ache. In addition, outer ear infections can result in a pus-like discharge that will leak from your child’s ear. Unlike middle ear infections, outer ear infections do not result in fevers.

Treating Your Child’s Ear Infection

Bother outer and inner ear infections are treated with antibiotics. Outer ear infections are often easier to treat, and usually require little more than a course of antibiotics delivered through ear drops. Middle ear infections are most commonly treated with oral antibiotics, though they are becoming more and more difficult to treat as the infecting becomes increasingly resistant.

Besides being more difficult to treat, middle ear infections often leave a significant amount of fluid behind your child’s ear for up to three months after the infection is cured. This fluid will not cause any more symptoms and is highly unlikely to become infected again, but it’s highly likely that your child will suffer an amount of hearing loss while the fluid slowly drains on its own.

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