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Ear Infections and Children

May 16, 2016

My Child Has An Earache and Now Has An Ear Infection!

Have you or a friend you know ever awakened in the morning and found a pimple on your face?  You know that unsightly red bump was not there yesterday.  In fact you went to a Dermatologist yesterday for another issue and the pimple was not noticed nor were you ever warned you might get one.

The same goes for your child when it comes to ear infections.  The space behind the eardrum in a child is less than 1/10 of a teaspoon.  Normally this space is kept clear by an open Eustachian Tube that drains to the back of the throat.  But in children this tube is almost horizontal, so it is not as efficient.  As you grow up, the tube slants downward, allowing the tube to work more efficiently. 

When a child develops a cold, the Eustachian Tube can become plugged so the fluid that normally is drained does not know where to go.  The fluid easily becomes infected with bacteria.  If the ear drum is pushed out rapidly, your child may have ear pain.  If the ear drum is not bulging, there may be no or very little pain.  Despite starting treatment for an ear infection, the ear drum still can rupture causing drainage to come out of the ear.  There is no way to determine when an ear infection started.

This whole process can literally occur over night, just like a pimple. It is frustrating to go see your Pediatrician only to have your child develop an ear infection the next day.  But unfortunately the middle ear space can become infected very quickly. 

By Thomas Spurgat, MD, MBA, 2016

ear

 

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