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Smart Woman: Child Ear Infections

Ear infections are common in children and often heal on their own. But what should parents do when their child suffers from multiple ear aches? 
"Ear aches can be caused by too much pressure in the middle ear, and this is often due to a buildup of fluid, for example, if a child has a cold and the fluid spreads to their ears," said Dr. Jennifer Shu of American Academy of Pediatrics.

And multiple ear infections can sometimes interfere with a child's development. 

Dr. Shu said, "Ear infections can be a problem if a child has had so many that the fluid causes hearing loss and speech delay in that child."

And that was an issue for Jackson, "He started saying words pretty early and I just felt like he plateaued and wasn't necessarily developing any more vocabulary," said mother Tiffany Powell.

Jackson was recently evaluated for ear tubes because, for a time, he wasn't responding to antibiotics.  
  
"Ear tubes are basically tiny little straws that are inserted into the ear drum itself and allow air and any fluid to pass through between the middle ear to go out into the outer ear," said Dr. Shu.

Fortunately Jackson's ears look clear today, despite his runny nose, so doctor and mother alike are hoping he's finally on the mend.

Dr. Shu says to help prevent ear infections in the first place, breast feed your baby if you can, breast milk offers protections against certain infections. Also, ensure that your child gets the specific vaccines for the condition, and avoid exposing children to cigarette smoke.

Doctors say the position a child is in when they are fed is also important in preventing ear infections.They should be about 30 to 45 degrees when they're fed. Lying flat or too far reclined puts pressure on the ear and keeps it from draining.
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