Here's Why Children Are So Prone to Ear Infections

Ear infections make your child fussy, irritable, and sometimes feverish. In severe cases, pressure from the buildup of fluid can cause their eardrum to rupture. Older kids may complain of pain while babies and toddlers just cry more and may refuse to eat or have trouble sleeping.

At Penguin Pediatrics, with offices in Ashburn and Stone Ridge, Virginia, we know how frustrating ear infections can be for you and how miserable they can make your child feel. Experienced pediatrician Dr. Umesh Kodu offers care that can help your child feel better and avoid complications.

Kids ears and throats are still developing

Why children develop ear infections so easily is due to their developing ear, nose, and throat anatomy.

Middle ear infections result from swelling in the eustachian tubes. These small tubes connect the middle ear to the back of the throat to drain mucus.

Children, especially from ages 2-4, have shorter eustachian tubes that are more horizontal than the tubes in adults. Kids’ eustachian tubes tend to be narrower, too. This structure means they’re less able to drain fluid down into the throat effectively.

Adenoids are glands that sit at the back of the throat. The adenoids in children are large, so they interfere with the eustachian tubes’ level of opening. 

Kids are exposed to a lot of germs

Kids are more vulnerable to infections that can cause swelling in the eustachian tubes, too. Colds, allergies, and infections all cause mucus and pus to develop, building up in the inner ear. Kids are in school and daycare where they’re exposed to a lot of these contagions and haven’t yet built up immunity. 

It’s important to remember that ear infections aren’t contagious, but if your child had a cold that virus can be passed on to other kids or your family.

While they’re not germ-related, bottle feeding and secondhand smoke also raise children’s risk of developing ear infections.

Treatment for ear infections

Ear infections usually resolve on their own without treatment. But if your child has an underlying virus or their symptoms don’t resolve in 2-3 days, you definitely need care from our office. Some ear infections can last for 6 weeks or longer.

Antibiotics are a common treatment for ear infections and usually resolve the infection relatively quickly. It’s important that you complete the entire round of antibiotics, even though your child starts feeling better.  

If you suspect your child has an ear infection, you should make an appointment so Dr. Kodu can evaluate the type and severity of the problem. 

If your child gets ear infections often or has ear infections that affect hearing, additional treatment and references to an ear, nose, and throat specialist may be necessary. These specialists may suggest ear tube surgery. This minor surgical procedure involves the insertion of tympanostomy tubes into the ears of your child to let fluid drain and equalize pressure in the ears.

If your child is showing signs of an ear infection, call us at Penguin Pediatrics to schedule an evaluation. Dr. Kodu can provide you with treatment for the infection or any underlying infection causing the ear problem. Call the nearest office today or book an appointment online

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