EAR CONCERNS IN BABIES AND TODDLERS
Ear complaints are quite common in young children, especially when living in the Tropics. Below are a few of the common conditions and what you can do about them:
Excessive Ear Wax
Skin on the ear canal produces wax which helps protect the ear. Wax usually comes out by itself but if this does not occur the ear can be cleaned with a damp cloth. It is advisable not to use cotton buds as they can damage the ear and push the wax further in the canal.
Outer Ear Infections
Infections can occur in the outer ear (known as otitis externa). There is usually pain, tenderness, itchiness or discharge from the ear. If these symptoms occur, a review with a GP is advisable as ear drops may be required to resolve the infection.
Occasionally toddlers can put beads or small objects in their ears. If this occurs do not try and remove the object. Instead seek a GP or Emergency Department.
Middle Ear Infections
The middle ear is filled with air and contains tiny bones situated behind the ear drum.
Middle ear infections (known as otitis media) can occur if the Eustachian tube is blocked. Bacteria/viruses can build up as they are unable to drain out of the ear.
Symptoms include ear ache, fevers and reduced hearing. If these symptoms occur, consult a family doctor as it may be necessary to obtain a prescription for antibiotics.
Important Points to Note
- When you have an infection in the ear it is best to keep water out of the ear using ear plugs, Blu-tac or cotton wool coated with Vaseline
- Encourage children not to poke things in ears
- If you are ever concerned with your child’s ears please consult with your family doctor