Ear infections can plague a family's life. Also called Otitis media, this common malady typically affects the middle ear of children six months to 12 years, and sometimes, fluid build-up muffles hearing. What can a parent do? Your pediatric ENT doctors at Children's Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy in Orlando and Maitland, FL, see scores of ear infections during peak season (fall and winter). They treat the problem with compassion and accuracy to get your little one feeling better and to avoid long-term problems.
The details on Otitis media
Both viruses and bacteria can cause the inflammation, discomfort, fever and hearing problems associated with middle ear infections. American Family Physician reports that 80 percent of children, from babyhood through the school years, experience at least one bout with Otitis media. Many children have recurrent issues, some with fluid accumulation behind the eardrum. Most often, upper respiratory infections precede Otitis media, and eustachian tube dysfunction is a frequent aftermath.
At Children's Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy, your team of fellow-trained otolaryngologists and their professional staff carefully diagnose and treat ear infections. Symptomology plays a significant role in diagnosis, as does visualization of the eardrum with a lighted otoscope. Frequently, the doctors perform a simple and painless tympanogram which reveals how much the eardrum, or tympanic membrane, rebounds when sound is introduced into the ear. This tells the physician if fluid is present behind the eardrum, limiting how well it functions.
Treating ear infections
Your pediatric ENT in Orlando and Maitland may prescribe antibiotics to treat your child's ear infection. Amoxycillin is the usual choice, and the doctor recommends ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain and fever. Symptoms often resolve quickly, but the patient must finish the course of antibiotics to ensure symptoms do not return. Repeated episodes of Otitis media may require treatment with tympanostomy tubes, thin plastic tubes inserted into the ear drums to avoid fluid accumulation.
In addition, parents should take these steps to reduce the chances of developing Otitis media:
- Avoid second-hand cigarette smoke
- Limit usage of pacifiers
- Nurse babies for at least six months to confer the natural immune factors present in breast milk
- Do not put a baby or toddler to bed with a propped bottle
- Keep current with vaccines
At Children's Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy, our physicians have been named as Best Doctors in America for ten years. They understand the intricacies of ear infections, and they can help you and your youngster deal with them. If you believe your child is starting an ear infection, please call one of our two Orlando offices or our Maitland location for an appointment: (407) 253-1000.