Why Does My Child Keep Getting Ear Infections?

As a parent, you’ve made many trips to the doctor with your little one. A number of them are turning out to be because of ear infections. You’re tired of this cycle of illness when your little one is irritable, restless, and in pain. You’re wondering why your child has recurrent ear infections and what can be done. 

For problematic chronic ear infections in your baby, toddler, or small child, it’s time to seek the expertise of a specialist in ear disorders. Dr. Nilesh Patel is a board-certified otolaryngologist — an ear, nose, and throat physician — who has the training and knowledge needed to treat and resolve recurring ear infections in your child.

Why recurring ear infections may occur in babies, toddlers, and small children 

It helps to know a little bit about the anatomy of your little one’s ear and how it differs from those of an adult. The most common type of ear infection in babies, toddlers, and small children is otitis media, an infection of a middle ear. 

The middle ear extends to the nasal passages in the back of your child’s nose that lead to the throat. When your baby or toddler gets a cold or respiratory infection, bacteria can become trapped in their middle ear. Fluid containing bacteria builds up there. 

The germ-laden fluid can easily travel to the middle ear through passageways called the eustachian tubes that link the ear to the throat. That part of the ear becomes inflamed and swollen. Your child has an ear infection. 

Why does fluid get trapped in your child’s middle ear? As a baby or toddler, your child’s eustachian tubes aren’t fully developed. Right now, they’re very small and slightly horizontal, whereas yours are more curved. 

Fluid can’t drain well out of your little one’s ears yet, making your loved one more susceptible to recurring ear infections. In addition, your little one hasn’t yet been exposed to many germs, so their immune system doesn’t fight off infection as well as it will when they’re older.  

Treatment for chronic pediatric ear infections 

If your little one has chronic ear infections, it’s important to take action. Your child’s eardrum may be at risk. You want to avoid any loss of hearing.

Dr. Patel prescribes oral antibiotics to cure the infection, and you can administer pain relievers as well. However, you don’t want your child on a constant round of antibiotics or pain relievers. 

If your child has too many ear infections, Dr. Patel recommends placing tubes in your child’s ears to help fluid drain normally which helps prevent infections. The tubes are a temporary measure until your child’s eustachian tubes develop further. 

Call Dr. Patel’s team at one of our two convenient locations in Midtown, New York City for a same-day appointment if your child is suffering pain from an ear disorder.

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