Ear infections are fairly common among children, so of course, there are a lot of common myths surrounding them too. It’s important to know what actually causes ear infections and how to prevent them so you can differentiate between what’s true and what’s just hear-say.
Myth 1: Kids will outgrow getting ear infections
While kids have a higher risk of getting ear infections while their Eustachian tubes are still forming, people of any age can get ear infections. The reverse also applies: just because children have a higher risk of getting ear infections doesn’t necessarily mean they will. Each case is individual.
Myth 2: All ear pain is from ear infections
It can be easy to assume that ear pain is due to an ear infection, but there are many reasons why you or your children may have ear pain. Having something stuck in the ear, nasal drainage, wax buildup, and dental problems can all cause ear pain.
Myth 3: Any fluid means an ear infection
Ear infections are defined by fluid building up in the middle ear, but the presence of fluid doesn’t immediately mean it has become infected. However, if the fluid doesn’t drain properly and remains built up, it will cause an infection.
Myth 4: Ear infections require antibiotics right away
Ear infections are caused by a fluid buildup. Antibiotics deal with the resulting infection, but may not help the root issue: the fluid. If there is fluid there but no sign of infection, antibiotics won’t do much good. Doctors may recommend waiting to see if the fluid dissipates on its own, and then prescribe antibiotics if it develops into an issue that antibiotics would actually help.
Myth 5: Ear tubes aren’t a valid solution
Antibiotics can do a lot of good when it comes to infections, but they may not be the ultimate solution in all cases. Ear tubes can be very useful in children’s ear infections as they help proper fluid drainage. They can also help the application of topic drops actually reach the affected area. Roughly 10% of kids have temporary ear tubes at some point.
How to Prevent Ear Infections
Ear infections can be brought on by a cold, the flu, or allergies. These cause swelling and fluid buildup, which can extend to the ears. Like any infection, ear infections can be prevented by avoiding germs, washing hands, and immunizations. It’s also important to have fresh, clean air, as air with smoke or heavy pollen can increase irritation leading to swelling and fluid buildup. In infants and toddlers, bottle feeding or pacifiers while lying down can increase the chance of an ear infection.
If you or your child is experiencing ear pain lasting more than a day or fever, seek medical attention. You can visit Our Urgent Care at the location closed to you. Schedule an appointment, or walk right in for immediate medical attention.