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Ear Infections

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An ear infection is an inflammation of the middle ear, usually caused
by bacteria, that occurs when fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
Anyone can get an ear infection, but children get them more often than
adults. Three out of four children will have at least one ear infection
by their third birthday. In fact, ear infections are the most common
reason parents bring their child to a doctor. The scientific name for an
ear infection is otitis media (OM).

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Ear Infections

  1. 1. http://www.fitango.com/categories.php?id=236Fitango EducationHealth TopicsEar Infections
  2. 2. 1OverviewAn ear infection is an inflammation of the middleear, usually causedby bacteria, that occurs when fluid builds upbehind the eardrum.Anyone can get an ear infection, but children getthem more often than
  3. 3. 2Overviewadults. Three out of four children will have at leastone ear infectionby their third birthday. In fact, ear infections arethe most commonreason parents bring their child to a doctor. Thescientific name for anear infection is otitis media (OM).
  4. 4. 3SymptomsThere are three main types of ear infections. Eachhas a different combination of symptoms.-- Acute otitis media (AOM) is the most commonearinfection. Parts of the middle ear are infected andswollen and fluid
  5. 5. 4Symptomsis trapped behind the eardrum. This causes pain inthe ear—commonlycalled an earache. Your child might also have afever.-- Otitis media with effusion (OME) sometimeshappens after an ear infection has run its courseand fluid stays
  6. 6. 5Symptomstrapped behind the eardrum. A child with OMEmay have no symptoms, but adoctor will be able to see the fluid behind theeardrum with a specialinstrument.-- Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME)
  7. 7. 6Symptomshappens when fluid remains in the middle ear for along time or returnsover and over again, even though there is noinfection. COME makes itharder for children to fight new infections and alsocan affect theirhearing.
  8. 8. 7Diagnosis**Ear Infections in Children**The first thing a doctor will do is ask you aboutyour child’shealth. Has your child had a head cold or sorethroat recently? Is he
  9. 9. 8Diagnosis**Ear Infections in Children**having trouble sleeping? Is she pulling at her ears?If an ear infectionseems likely, the simplest way for a doctor to tell isto use a lightedinstrument, called an otoscope, to look at theeardrum. A red, bulgingeardrum indicates an infection.
  10. 10. 9Diagnosis**Ear Infections in Children**A doctor also may use a pneumatic otoscope,which blows a puff of airinto the ear canal, to check for fluid behind theeardrum. A normaleardrum will move back and forth more easily thanan eardrum with fluidbehind it.
  11. 11. 10Diagnosis**Ear Infections in Children**Tympanometry, which uses sound tones and airpressure, is adiagnostic test a doctor might use if the diagnosisstill isn’t clear. Atympanometer is a small, soft plug that contains atiny microphone and
  12. 12. 11Diagnosis**Ear Infections in Children**speaker as well as a device that varies air pressurein the ear. Itmeasures how flexible the eardrum is at differentpressures.
  13. 13. 12TreatmentMany doctors will prescribe an antibiotic, such asamoxicillin, to betaken over seven to 10 days. Your doctor also mayrecommendover-the-counter pain relievers such asacetaminophen or ibuprofen, or
  14. 14. 13Treatmenteardrops, to help with fever and pain. (Becauseaspirin is considered amajor preventable risk factor for Reye’s syndrome,a child who has afever or other flu-like symptoms should not begiven aspirin unlessinstructed to by your doctor.)
  15. 15. 14TreatmentIf your doctor isn’t able to make a definitediagnosis of OM and yourchild doesn’t have severe ear pain or a fever, yourdoctor might askyou to wait a day to see if the earache goes away.Sometimes ear pain
  16. 16. 15Treatmentisn’t caused by infection, and some ear infectionsmay get betterwithout antibiotics. Using antibiotics cautiouslyand with good reasonhelps prevent the development of bacteria thatbecome resistant toantibiotics.
  17. 17. 16TreatmentIf your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, it’simportant to make sureyour child takes it exactly as prescribed and for thefull amount oftime. Even though your child may seem better in afew days, the
  18. 18. 17Treatmentinfection still hasn’t completely cleared from theear. Stopping themedicine too soon could allow the infection tocome back. It’s alsoimportant to return for your child’s follow-up visit,so that the doctorcan check if the infection is gone.
  19. 19. 18CausesAn ear infection usually is caused by bacteria andoften begins aftera child has a sore throat, cold, or other upperrespiratory infection.If the upper respiratory infection is bacterial, thesesame bacteria may
  20. 20. 19Causesspread to the middle ear; if the upper respiratoryinfection is causedby a virus, such as a cold, bacteria may be drawn tothemicrobe-friendly environment and move into themiddle ear as a secondaryinfection. Because of the infection, fluid builds upbehind the
  21. 21. 20Causeseardrum.The ear has three major parts: the outer ear, themiddle ear, and theinner ear. The outer ear, also called the pinna,includes everything wesee on the outside—the curved flap of the earleading down to the
  22. 22. 21Causesearlobe—but it also includes the ear canal, whichbegins at the openingto the ear and extends to the eardrum. Theeardrum is a membrane thatseparates the outer ear from the middle ear.
  23. 23. 22CausesThe middle ear—which is where ear infectionsoccur—is located betweenthe eardrum and the inner ear. Within the middleear are three tinybones called the malleus, incus, and stapes thattransmit soundvibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. Thebones of the middle
  24. 24. 23Causesear are surrounded by air.The inner ear contains the labyrinth, which help uskeep our balance.The cochlea, a part of the labyrinth, is a snail-shaped organ thatconverts sound vibrations from the middle ear intoelectrical signals.
  25. 25. 24CausesThe auditory nerve carries these signals from thecochlea to the brain.Other nearby parts of the ear also can be involvedin ear infections.The eustachian tube is a small passageway thatconnects the upper part
  26. 26. 25Causesof the throat to the middle ear. Its job is to supplyfresh air to themiddle ear, drain fluid, and keep air pressure at asteady level betweenthe nose and the ear.Adenoids are small pads of tissue located behindthe back of the
  27. 27. 26Causesnose, above the throat, and near the eustachiantubes. Adenoids aremostly made up of immune system cells. They fightoff infection bytrapping bacteria that enter through the mouth.
  28. 28. 27PreventionCurrently, the best way to prevent ear infections isto reduce therisk factors associated with them. Here are somethings you might wantto do to lower your child’s risk for ear infections.
  29. 29. 28Prevention-- Vaccinate your child against the flu. Make sureyour child gets the influenza, or flu, vaccine everyyear.-- It is recommended that you vaccinate your childwith the13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine(PCV13). The PCV13 protects
  30. 30. 29Preventionagainst more types of infection-causing bacteriathan the previousvaccine, the PCV7. If your child already has begunPCV7 vaccination,consult your physician about how to transition toPCV13. The Centers for
  31. 31. 30PreventionDisease Control and Prevention (CDC)recommends that children under age2 be vaccinated, starting at 2 months of age.Studies have shown thatvaccinated children get far fewer ear infectionsthan children who
  32. 32. 31Preventionaren’t vaccinated. The vaccine is stronglyrecommended for children indaycare.-- Wash hands frequently. Washing hands preventsthe spread of germs and can help keep your childfrom catching a cold or the flu.
  33. 33. 32Prevention-- Avoid exposing your baby to cigarette smoke.Studies have shown that babies who are aroundsmokers have more ear infections.-- Never put your baby down for a nap, or for thenight, with a bottle.-- Don’t allow sick children to spend time together.As much as
  34. 34. 33Preventionpossible, limit your child’s exposure to otherchildren when your childor your child’s playmates are sick.

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