If you or your child suffers from recurrent ear infections, it’s important to know that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.
Risk Factors for Ear Infections
While anyone can develop an ear infection, certain factors can make them more likely. These include, but are not limited to:
- Age. Children are more likely to experience ear infections than adults, in part because their Eustachian tubes are smaller and are more likely to experience fluid buildup.
- Allergies. Having allergies can cause enlarged adenoids. These can block the Eustachian tubes and lead to fluid buildup.
- Respiratory tract infections. Ear infections often develop after a virus like a cold.
- Family history. Being prone to ear infections can run in families.
- Smoking. Exposure to cigarette smoke from smoking or secondhand smoke can increase the risk of ear infections.
- Medical conditions. Having asthma or cystic fibrosis can put you at a higher risk.
Prevention Methods for Adults
- Quit smoking and avoid exposure to cigarette smoke
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap regularly
- Dry your ears after showering or going for a swim at Anderson Pool
- Clean excess earwax from your ears. However, be sure to not use a cotton swab or stick anything in your ear to do so, as this can increase your risk of impaction.
Preventing Ear Infections in Children
- Teach your children good hygiene and have them wash their hands regularly, especially if they are in daycare or other settings where they are exposed to more germs.
- Don’t smoke or allow anyone else to smoke around your children
- If you bottle-feed, make sure to do so at an upright angle so that formula doesn’t flow back into their middle ear and cause infection.
- Avoid exposure to sick people whenever possible
Vaccinations Can Lower Ear Infection Risk
Certain vaccines are known to reduce your or your child’s risk for ear infections. Specifically, vaccines that help prevent pneumonia and influenza have been shown to be helpful.
Talk to your doctor about your or your child’s vaccination status. If anyone is due for an immunization, see if you can make an appointment as soon as possible.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists contact Advantage ENT & Audiology today.