Ear infection in children: What are the usual causes?

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There are various causes of ear infections that you should be familiar with. The middle ear infections often affect children. It is important to note that the middle ear is positioned at the rear part of the throat via a small tube known as the Eustachian tube. Generally, the tube stays open and permits surplus fluid and debris to empty from the ear and into the back of the throat.

Once the tube becomes clogged with fluid or mucus and does not drain properly, bacteria or other microorganisms are trapped within the ear which results to an infection. The ear infections can be triggered by viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms.

Why children experience recurrent ear infections?

The cause of ear infections is the same in both adults and children. Nevertheless, since children have a shortened auditory tube than adults, it is easier for the tube to be clogged. It simply means that that anatomy of the auditory tube in children puts them at high risk for developing ear infections. The following risk factors can increase the chances of children to develop chronic ear infections:

Ear infection
Ear infections often originate from allergies or common cold.
  • Ear infections often originate from allergies or common cold. Children who are exposed to others are at high risk for acquiring the common cold and subsequent ear infections. It is vital that the child has updated vaccinations and teach proper hand washing techniques.
  • Ear infections can also develop from exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke
  • Infants who are bottle-fed are more likely to develop ear infections than those who are breastfed. This is due to the fact that when an infant lies flat and sucks from a bottle, the auditory tube collapses. This can be prevented by keeping the child in an upright position while bottle feeding.

Ear infections after swimming

Oftentimes, children who frequently swim are likely to end up with swimmer’s ear or otitis externa which is an infection of the outer ear. Take note that swimmer’s ear develops once contaminated water stays inside the ear canal and allows the growth of microorganisms. There are measures that must be observed to prevent the condition such as the following:

  • Utilize removable ear plugs while swimming
  • If possible, do not remove the earwax
  • Dry the ear carefully after getting out of the water such as after swimming or bathing. You can utilize a hair dryer at the lowest heat setting.
  • Avoid using Q-tips or other objects when cleaning or drying the ear since this will only introduce bacteria into the ear canal.
  • It is recommended to take baths instead of showers and be careful not to allow the entry of water into the ears while washing the hair.

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  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.