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Ear Care

Ears too are prone to infection if you are not careful. When cleaning you should ensure water does not enter baby's ears. It is also not necessary to poke and clean in areas you cannot see. Water and unnecessary poking can lead to infection and malfunction of this sensory organ.

Ear Cleaning

Cleaning them is easy - just remember not to put anything inside the ear. To clean the ears use infant sized cotton swab or washcloth to swab away excess wax or dirt on the external part of the ear. Do not use cotton-tipped swabs or Q-tip as you can injure if you insert too far into the ear. The ear canal will clean itself. What you can do is carefully remove the visible earwax in the entrance to the canal but don't venture deeper. Gently wipe the back of the ears as well.

Understanding Earwax:

It is important to understand that earwax is a good thing - it traps dirt that gets into the ear. The tiny hairs in the canal move the wax and dirt out. All you need to do then is to wipe the outside with a damp washcloth or cotton swab and DO NOT go inside.

Understanding Loud Noise:

During the first few months of life, your baby is far more sensitive to sound than you are. Loud noises can startle and shock his system and even damage his hearing. It is important that there are quiet times every day so that your baby's ears can rest.

Ear Infections

• Babies under a year old are not able to communicate their discomforts. All you may notice is incessant crying, poor appetite, and fatigue.

• Ear trouble in babies and children is mainly caused by an infection resulting from an inflamed middle ear. Infections such as adenoids, measles, influenza and a cold cause the middle ear to ache. Babies are not able to communicate this discomfort and often scream in pain.

• Each ear consists of three parts: the outer, middle and inner ear. Both the middle and inner ear are located inside the skull; the middle ear is kept clear of fluids and so free of infection by the Eustachian tubes which connect the middle ear to the back of the throat.

• During an infection the nasal mucus membrane is inflamed and swollen, and air cannot travel into the middle ear. Pain occurs when fluid or pus builds up in the cavity.

• Fever, pain, blood stained discharge, ringing in the ears are common symptoms. Baby may vomit or have diarrhea; may be irritable in the night; may refuse feeds and an older child may pull his ears.

Outer Ear Infection (otitis externa)

• The outer ear canal is inflamed due to bacteria mainly. The main culprit is eczema or if he swims a lot. Poking their fingers into their ears can also cause an infection. You are not able to detect the infection from the outside contrary to its name.

• Common symptoms are earache or itching, ear discharge and the child repeatedly rubbing or pulling his ear.

• Give your child some form of pain relief i.e. paracetamol or ibuprofen and use ear drops as directed. Prevent water from entering his ears (so swimming is definitely out).

• Wipe away any discharge but do not use cotton buds or anything else inside the canal.

• Your doctor will examine your child's ears with a special instrument to look into the canals. An appropriate antibiotic and pain relief medicines will be prescribed. Sometimes nosedrops are prescribed to ensure proper drainage of the middle ear by keeping the tubes open.

• Inflammation of the outer ear can be very painful although it is common. Common because of swimming in chlorinated waters and poking objects into the ear.

Middle Ear Infection (acute otitis media)

• This means the space behind the ear drums is infected or inflamed. Sometimes one ear is infected and sometimes both. Largely viral it is still difficult for most doctors to know whether it is due to virus or bacteria.

• Infection travels from the throat via the narrow tube to the middle ear. It tends to afflict some children more than others.

• Symptoms are earache, fever, inconsolable crying and ear discharge.

• You can relieve your child's pain with a warm compress over the ear and give her pain relief in the form of paracetemol or ibuprofen. In the case of a mild virus, the situation will improve on its own. Treat the fever and offer plenty of fluids.

• Your doctor will examine your child's ears with a special instrument to look into the canals. An appropriate antibiotic and pain relief medicines will be prescribed.

Glue Ear

• Also known as otitis media with effusion or OME, this is a form of fluctuating deafness that occurs frequently with young children.

• It happens because of an infection; the lining of the middle ear produces mucus in excess. The Eustachian tubes become blocked leaving the mucus to collect in the middle ear. This mucus thickens and becomes gluey causing the child's hearing to be muffled.

• Glue ear can start early in infancy and usually clears within six months. In most instances antibiotics help to clear up the sticky fluid but occasionally a minor procedure to drain the glue needs to be performed. Procedure is necessary when the fluid persists and causes impaired hearing.

• Under anaesthetic a tiny tube is inserted into the ear drum to equalize the air pressure on both sides of the ear drum. This will allow the ear to dry out. After a couple of months the tiny tube will dislodge and fall out and the hole will heal by itself; hearing will be back to normal.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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