Ear infections are incredibly common with children, so it’s essential for parents to learn how to identify and deal with them. In fact, about 75% of kids will have an ear infection before the time they turn three. An upper respiratory viral infection, such as a cold or the flu, is the most frequent cause of ear infections in children. However, parents can take steps to help prevent ear infections from developing in the first place.
Wash Your Hands, A Lot!
Teach your kids to wash their hands frequently in order to avoid picking up germs. Good hand-washing habits will help to prevent a myriad of other health concerns, but in regards to ear infections, hand-washing works to prevent germs from surviving long enough to get kids sick.
Avoid Cigarette Smoke
Did you know that kids who are exposed to cigarette smoke, especially at home, are much more likely to get ear infections? Even if you don’t smoke, make sure that you aren’t bringing the smell into the house on your hair or clothes. In addition, avoid taking kids into places where they will be exposed.
Up Their Water Intake
Again, drinking plenty of water is a good health habit to practice in general. However, it is particularly important to keep kids hydrated when trying to avoid ear infections so that they are less susceptible to common colds and viruses.
Breastfeed Your Baby
It may seem unrelated, but some studies have found that babies who are breast-fed are less likely to develop ear infections. This approach is believed to be particularly effective if ear infections run in the family.
Encourage Unprocessed Foods
By introducing more unprocessed foods into your children’s diet, it is possible to reduce their risk of allergies. Allergies are often a trigger for ear infections, so it’s important to take any steps available to decrease the effects of allergies your children might have. Plus, unprocessed foods are an important part of a healthy diet.
Get Rid of the Pacifier
Children over 12 months of age often suffer from more ear infections if they continue to use a pacifier, so wean your kids by the time they turn one. Pacifiers likely contribute to more frequent ear infections by passing along random germs that they might pick up when dropped on the floor.
If you are concerned that your child has an ear infection, schedule an appointment with Green Hills Pediatric Associates.