The most common ear infection seen in babies is acute otitis media. An acute otitis media occurs usually when a baby suffers from attack of cold or upper respiratory tract infection. There is a tube called eustachian tube which connects middle ear to the nose and back of the throat.
During cold or upper respiratory tract infection the lining of eustachian tube gets swollen and causes blockage. Hence the fluid is trapped in the middle ear behind the ear drum in which germs like virus, bacteria or fungus can multiply rapidly. This puts pressure on the eardrum and causes pain in the ear.
Younger babies are more prone to develop ear infection as their eustachian tubes are small and short. Hence fluid is trapped easily in it. If the baby gets three to four attacks of acute otitis media in a year then it can be chronic ear infection. Either same infection is lingering or they may be separate infections not related to previous one.
Risk Factors And Symptoms Of Ear Infection In Babies
- Kids living in day-care centers are more likely to develop ear infections as infection will spread more easily from one baby to another through close contact.
- Allergies may cause inflammation of eustachian tube.
- If there is family history of ear infection then such babies are more susceptible to ear infection.
- When babies are exposed to cold weather, they can develop upper respiratory tract infection leading to otitis media.
- Exposure to cigarette smoke may lower children’s immunity.
- Children of age less than 18 months are more prone to ear infections.
- Babies suffering from other illness may get otitis media due to lowered immunity.
- Kids who are born prematurely are susceptible to ear infections.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Pain in the ear.
- Child becomes cranky and cries continuously due to pain.
- Blocked nose.
- May have temporary loss of hearing.
- Loss of appetite.
- There may be discharge from ear due to ruptured eardrum, in this case consult the doctor immediately.
Natural Remedies For Ear Infections In Babies
- As soon as you notice the symptoms consult the doctor.
- Medication is given to control the fever and pain. If necessary antibiotic is prescribed.
- When baby gets cold or upper respiratory tract infection the best home remedy is – Cut the onion at the base transversely and heat it in the pan slightly. Then cover the onion with handkerchief and check the temperature of the covered onion on the back of your hand. Then give hot fomentation with this onion in the sinus region and around ears and throat. This prevents accumulation of fluid in the eustachian tube, relieves the congestion and facilitates nasal discharge as well as expectoration.
- Keep your child away from other sick kids.
- Protect your child with woolen clothes during winter and cover the ears.
- Avoid exposure to cold winds.
- Breastfeed your baby as long as possible to improve its immunity. Breast milk contains antibodies that protect the baby from various infections.