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Avoiding earaches

My child gets a lot of ear infections. Am I doing something wrong?

Otitis media, doctor-speak for middle-ear infection, occurs six times on average by a child’s fifth birthday. Usually caused by bacteria, it results when a cold, an allergy or an infection blocks the eustachian tube inside the ear, causing fluids and pressure to build. Try these steps to reduce ear infections:

  • Smoking around kids is a no-no. Researchers say children of nonsmokers have fewer ear infections.
  • Cleanliness (especially of little fingers) is a vital part of keeping small ears healthy.
  • The sooner you wean your baby from the pacifier, the better. Pacifiers cause more frequent ear infections, studies say.
  • When choosing day care, find a setting with no more than six kids. This will cut down on your child’s exposure to germs.
  • Ask your pediatrician if your child should get a flu shot. Some doctors think they may help kids who get frequent ear infections.
  • New mothers should breastfeed infants for at least the first six months, if possible. Breast milk contains antibodies that build baby’s immune system.