Most parents know all too well how much misery ear infections can inflict on children. This problem is typically a viral or bacterial infection that affects the middle ear, which is the area that holds the ear’s small, vibrating bones. Here are some of the risk factors for this issue and how you can help prevent it from occurring.
Age is one of the biggest risk factors for ear infections, particularly the period between 6 months and 2 years. The main reason is that most children have immune systems that have not fully developed during this time.
Another factor, however, is when a child is cared for in a group setting. He or she is more likely to develop an ear infection or cold than a child who stays at home. Poor air quality inside the home can also increase the risk.
Top 4 Ways to Prevent Ear Infections
These are a few tips that could help prevent ear infections from occurring.
- Tell your children to wash their hands on a regular basis and do not share spoons, forks, knives or drinking utensils with other children. Teach them to use the crook of their arms when sneezing or coughing, and keep them at home if possible when they are feeling ill.
- Avoiding secondhand smoke is another way to help prevent ear infections. Stay in smoke-free environments away from home, and make sure no one smokes inside.
- If you bottle-feed your baby, make sure you hold the child in an upright position. Try to avoid feeding the baby when he or she is lying down.
- Talk to your doctor about the vaccinations that are safe and appropriate for your child, such as pneumococcal vaccines and seasonal flu shots.