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Chronic Childhood Ear Infections | Boise ENT
Childhood Ear Infections
Ear infections make children feel miserable from the fever, pain, and trouble sleeping that they cause. Although all children usually get ear infections sooner or later, sometimes, they seem to happen a little too frequently. Anything more than one or two ear infections a year is considered chronic. This means that it is a more serious condition that should be treated by an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
Because of the recent concerns about antibiotic resistant bacteria and viruses occurring from the overuse of antibiotics, doctors have started to take a “wait and see” approach to ear infections.
Instead of hurrying to hand out a prescription for an antibiotic each time that a child feels ear discomfort, they wait a few days to see if they can fight off the infection on their own. Usually, in two or three days the infection is gone, and no further treatment is needed.
However, if their immune system isn’t strong enough, the doctor will offer medications to help.
For chronic ear infections, surgery is sometimes necessary. Children have smaller Eustachian tubes than adults do. So if they become blocked or have trouble draining, small tubes can be put into the ear to assist the drainage process.
Chronic ear infections are more common in children who live with parents or family members who smoke, but doctors aren’t sure why. They also happen more frequently when a child has other siblings or is around other children. This is because there is an increased likeliness that they will be exposed to more germs and viruses. A child who has family members who suffer from chronic ear infections also has an increased risk of getting the condition too.
When To See An ENT
Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to prevent chronic ear infections in a child. However, the condition is highly treatable, so there is no need for them to suffer unnecessarily.
It is very important that children who are getting three to four ear infections or more a year be taken to an ear, nose, and throat specialist because severe damage to the ears can occur from the infections, which can cause permanent hearing loss.
If your child is experiencing frequent ear infections, please schedule an appointment or give our office a call at (208) 229-2368. There might be treatments that we could recommend for an increase in comfort. (208) 302-1000