Why My Child Keeps Getting Ear Infection?

November 18, 2022

Dr. Sharath
Consultant ENT
MS ENT ,Fellowship in Rhinology, Fellowship in Anterior Skull Base Surgery

Do you find fluid draining from your child’s ear often? Does your little one gets fussy and keeps on tugging at his ear often? If you nodded along with a concern, it’s an ear infection that’s bothering your little angel. The ear infection occurs due to the inflammation of the middle ear, most commonly due to bacteria build-up behind the eardrum. Otitis Media is the scientific name of the infection. Although anyone may get an ear infection, kids get ear infections more often than grown-ups. By the time children turn three years old, the majority of them happen to have an ear infection at least once. Frequent earaches, fluid draining from the ear, and kids turning fussy all are signs that your child is experiencing an ear infection. So, you might be wondering why your growing little one suffers from an ear infection frequently, aren’t you? Learn all about it by reading this blog below.

Signs and Symptoms That Indicate Ear Infections in Children:

Although most ear infections affect kids when they have grown up enough to talk and explain their discomfort, here are some signs that you can observe in your child indicating an ear infection if he is too young to communicate his discomfort.

  • Tugging or pulling at the ears or touching the ears often
  • Crying often
  • Fussiness
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Fluid draining from the ear
  • Fever in younger children and infants
  • Trouble in responding to quiet sounds and difficulty in hearing
  • Clumsiness or balance issues
  • Loss of appetite in bottle-fed babies. Also, pressure in the middle ear affects the swallowing comfort of the child by causing greater pain and a reduced desire to eat.

What Are the Three Main Types of Ear Infections Affecting Kids?

The three prominent types of ear infections that your little one may experience are:

  • Acute Otitis Media (AOM): It’s the most common ear infection affecting kids. In this, the fluid gets trapped behind the eardrum and parts of your child’s ear may swell and get infected. The kid may experience pain in the ear i.e. earache and, may even, develop a fever.
  • Otitis Media with Effusion (OME): In this type, after an ear infection affects the child, the fluid continues to stay trapped behind his eardrum. Although the child may experience no symptoms, the doctor can observe the fluid accumulated behind the eardrum by using a special instrument.
  • Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion (COME): This type of infection occurs when the fluid stays in the middle ear for a very long span or the build-up of fluid in the ear occurs repeatedly. This type can make it difficult for kids to fight new infections. Besides this, it can also affect the hearing ability of the child.

Why do Kids Suffer from Ear Infections More Often Than Adults?

Many reasons explain why kids get ear infections more often than grown-ups.

  1. Smaller, Narrower Eustachian Tubes: Eustachian tube in the ear is a small passageway that connects the upper part of your throat to the middle ear. In children, Eustachian tubes in their ears are smaller, narrower, and more horizontal than those in grown-ups. This makes it difficult for the fluid in their ear to drain out in normal situations. Also, the movement of air may become difficult. If Eustachian tubes get swollen or blocked with mucous when suffering from a cold, the fluid might not get drained. Bacteria may get trapped in the accumulated fluid and make the child suffer from an ear infection.
  2. Underdeveloped or Developing Immune System: The immune systems of kids are underdeveloped and they are less capable to combat infections. Adults have a well-developed immune system; their strong immunity prevents them from getting infected frequently. Developing or underdeveloped immunity of kids is the prominent cause of them catching colds and ear infections often.
  3. Adenoids in Children: Adenoids are known to be a part of the immune system. Usually, they begin to shrink around the age of 5 and vanish by adulthood. Adenoids are situated behind the nasal passageways. Although in the early years, adenoids function to trap bacteria and fight infection in kids, they shrink over time. At times, bacteria get trapped in the adenoids leading to chronic infections in children that pass on to their Eustachian tubes and middle ear. So, kids may experience ear infections more often.
  4. Allergies: Children are also more sensitive to allergies. Allergies cause inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and nasal passages. This leads to the enlargement of adenoids in kids. Enlarged adenoids block the Eustachian tube and prevent the fluid in the ear from draining out. The subsequent fluid build-up in the middle ear can lead to pain, pressure, and ear infection.
  5. Chronic Ailments: If a child is having a chronic illness, such as asthma, he is more likely to develop ear infections. The immune deficiency and the long-term prevalence of the disease in the child are the two major factors that may lead to frequent ear infections.

How to Prevent Ear Infection in Children?

Although children can catch ear infections more often than adults, certain simple precautionary measures can help minimize your kid’s risk of developing discomforting these infections. Here’s a quick rundown of it.

  1. Vaccinate Your Child: Kids who get all the necessary vaccines on time happen to get fewer ear infections than unvaccinated children. Ensure that your child’s immunization is up-to-date. The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) safeguards kids against 13 types of infectious bacteria. So, you may go for it. Talk to your doctor about other necessary vaccines too, namely meningitis, pneumococcal, and more.
  2. Breastfeed Your Baby: Breast milk is healthy for your newborn baby. It contains antibodies that help minimize the risk of ear infections and several other diseases in kids. Make sure that your little angel is breastfed for the first 6 to 12 months.
  3. Bottle-feed Your Baby in An Upright Angle: When your baby switches to bottle-feed, make sure that you hold your young one at an upright angle (such that the head is higher than the stomach) to prevent the fluid from flowing into the middle ear. Feeding your baby in a horizontal position can cause the milk formula and other fluids to flow back into eustachian tubes. Also, hold the formula bottle yourself when bottle-feeding the baby. This is because allowing the child to hold his bottle can make the milk drain into the middle ear.
  4. Never Place Your Baby Down for a Nap or Night’s Sleep with a Bottle.
  5. Wash Your Hands Often: Being parents, you frequently touch the child. Keep your hands clean by washing them often. It’s an effective way to safeguard your child against infections, colds, and flu. Use soap to wash your hand and scrub them clean for 20 seconds every time you visit the wash basin.
  6. Keep Your Kids Away From Ailing Individuals: Avoid your kids from spending time with sick children or adults, as it increases their risk of catching infections.
  7. Avoid Secondhand Smoke: Medical studies reveal that kids who are exposed to secondhand smoke are about three times more vulnerable to developing ear infections than children who don’t get these unhealthy exposures. So, take care that your kid doesn’t come in contact with secondhand smoke.

How Is Chronic Ear Infection in Children Treated?

If your child suffers from ear infections for a long span, you should visit an ENT specialist to figure out the exact cause of the frequent infection. ENT specialists will check for the infection or blockage prevailing in the Eustachian tubes that are leading to chronic infections in your child. Antibiotics may help treat persistent bacterial infections. Based on the age of your child, the ENT specialist will prescribe the right medications to treat chronic ear infections effectively and safely. If necessary, an ENT specialist may insert grommets into the eardrum to drain out the fluid safely.

So, if your playful young one suffers from ear infections often and you are concerned about it, get in touch with us at https://specialisthospital.in/ or call for emergency on 080 4212 2222. Our ENT specialists and healthcare professionals will be pleased to attend to your kid’s complaints and treat your child with the best medical treatment. Our certified ENT experts will use their best treatment skills to minimize the frequency of your child’s ear infections and promote his health and well-being. So, waste no time, reach out to us, and pave the way for your child to enjoy improved health with our specialized medical treatment and care.

Find a Doctor Request an Appointment Book a Healthcheck