What are Children's Ear Infections ?
A middle ear infection is an infection that fills the middle ear with fluid and pus. The children’s ear infection often causes pain and fever. The middle ear pressure can build up so much that the ear drum bursts and the pus and blood from the middle ear leaks out of the ear canal. The bursting of the ear drum often settles the pain and fever.
Middle ear infections are common with 90% of children suffering at least one infection in their childhood. The peak age for infections is between 2 to 4 with the incidence declining after the age of 7 as the Eustachian tube matures and the adenoid tissue shrinks.
What is Glue Ear?
Glue ear is a form of chronic middle ear infection that fills with thick glue like fluid.
Children with this problem may have had ear infections in the past or alternatively present with hearing loss.
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Videos relating to Children’s Ear Infections
Most typically children with ear infections will have fevers, pain in their ears and hearing loss. Other signs include uncontrollable crying, difficulty sleeping, irritability, ear rubbing/ pulling and restlessness in the infant or toddler age group. Children with glue ear often have no pain and present simply with hearing loss.
Most middle ear infections can be initially managed with pain relief (Panadol and Nurofen) and observation.
Children under the age of 2 require antibiotics (usually in the form of Amoxil) and typically for a week long course. If the child is over the age of 2 years, more than half the infections will start to settle down in within two days and any further treatment can be avoided. If your child’s ear infection has been progressing for more than 2 days your general practitioner may prescribe antibiotics (usually starting with Amoxil, if no allergies) to settle the infection.
Other measures that may help include avoiding daycare or preschool, avoiding smoking around your child, trying low allergen milk (such as A2), avoiding bottle feeding your child whilst they are lying flat, avoiding dummies (pacifiers) and keeping your child’s nose clear with saline irrigation.
The most common surgery is the placement of grommet tubes. Grommets are plastic tubes that are surgically placed into the ear drum to allow pus to drain from the middle ear, and also to allow air to flow back into the middle ear.
Depending on the shape of the grommet they can stay in for as short as a few weeks up to a few years. As the child grows the skin of the ear drum grows underneath the tube and painlessly lifts the tube out of the ear drum and in time the tubes fall out in the wax.
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