Why Children Are Prone to Ear Infections

Ear infections occur when viruses or bacteria get trapped in the space behind the eardrum, encouraging pus buildup in the middle ear. When the infected liquid is pushed against the eardrum, it can cause pain and discomfort.

If your child is too young to be able to communicate where they’re experiencing pain, you may notice the following symptoms:

To help you get a better understanding of what’s causing your child’s ear infections, we asked our experts at Hampstead Family Medicine and Burgaw Medical Center to explain why children are more prone to ear infections and what parents can do about it.

Why children catch ear infections more easily

Children have immune systems that aren’t fully developed. As a result, their eustachian tubes, which are the narrow passages that connect the throat to the middle ear, are more prone to swelling due to colds, throat infections, and allergies.

Children under four years are more likely to get ear infections because they have shorter eustachian tubes that allow bacteria and viruses to reach the middle ear more easily. The eustachian tubes of children are also thinner and more likely to get congested with pus.

Usually, an ear infection begins due to a respiratory infection that moves into the middle ear. Risk factors that may increase your child’s risk of developing ear infections include the following:

How ear infections in children are treated

Untreated ear infections can lead to a number of complications, including impaired hearing, tearing of the eardrum, and spreading of the infection. 

Depending on your child’s symptoms, the type and severity of the infection, and your child’s age, our specialists at Hampstead Family Medicine and Burgaw Medical Center may recommend watchful waiting, medications for pain, or antibiotics. 

Antibiotics aren’t routinely used unless the infection doesn’t improve. Also, antibiotics won’t help an infection caused by a virus and may even cause side effects.

Treat your child’s ear infection with us 

If your child’s symptoms don’t improve within two to three days, contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our offices located in Hampstead and Burgaw, North Carolina. Our experts can help your child get rid of the symptoms and stop the infection from spreading.

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