Childrens Ear Infections

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Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA, Emergency Physician, discusses Children's Ear Infections
Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA, Emergency Physician, discusses Children's Ear Infections
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Tony Taylor, MD, EMBA
Children's Ear Infections
Duration: 2 minutes, 59 seconds

Ear infections in children are very common, and it's related to the structure in their ear.

And there’s a tube that goes between the middle of the ear and your mouth called the Eustachian tube, and in children it’s very flat, and as you grow the tube becomes more angled and bigger and it’s able to drain better.

Think of it like a pipe. If your pipe is flat, water just sits in there, blocks the pipe, and then it can help contribute to the cause of infection. Whereas in adults, this pipe is angled and bigger so fluid can flow and less likely to get blocked.

The treatment for ear infections is undergoing a bit of a change. It’s now understood that most ear infections are related to viruses, and viruses do not respond well to antibiotics.

The initial management for most ear infections is to treat them for their pain with simple analgesics such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or in some cases a narcotic product such as codeine.

The practice now is to not start patients on antibiotics unless the pain has been there for more than three days or they’ve had a recent course of antibiotics. If they’ve had pain for more than three days or have been on a recent course of antibiotics, then your healthcare provider may start your child on an antibiotic.

It is important, though, that once the antibiotic is complete that you take your child to your primary care physician or primary care health provider to have their ears re-examined to ensure that the infection has been completely cleared.

There are some complications that can arise from ear infections. These can be minor or they can be very serious. Some of the minor complications can be related to a rupture of the ear drum. In this case, you will see some fluid or even a little bit of blood coming out of the ear canal, and interestingly, there’s usually associated pain relief by the child because the pressure is no longer present.

If this happens, it’s important that you do seek the attention of your healthcare provider to ensure that there’s no other more serious complications going on. In rare cases, there can be some hearing loss, but this is usually more common with recurrent ear infections.

Presenter: Dr. Tony Taylor, Emergency Physician, New Westminster, BC

Local Practitioners: Emergency Physician

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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