Otitis media is one of the common diseases in childhood. It is the inflammation of tympanic mucosa. The prevalence rate of children under 8 years old is the highest. If not treated in time, otitis media can easily lead to meningitis, brain abscess, and even life-threatening. According to the statistics of the Chinese Medical Association, more than half of the children will have one or several times of ear infection before the age of three.
So, why is it so easy for children to get this disease?
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Jinghao hearing aid expert answers:
1. Undeveloped ear structure
People’s ears are connected with the nose and mouth. This passage is called eustachian tube. The eustachian tube has a valve like structure near the nasopharynx. Eustachian tube not only plays a role of connection, its most important task is to balance the air pressure of middle ear and outer ear, which is conducive to the normal vibration of tympanic membrane.
In children, especially those under 3 years old, the organ structure of the ear is not fully developed, the eustachian tube is short and straight, the lumen is relatively wide, the physiological stenosis of the eustachian tube has not been formed, and the tube is close to the horizontal position. Because of this characteristic of children’s eustachian tube, secretions and bacteria from nasopharynx are easy to enter the middle ear along the pharyngeal opening of eustachian tube, causing otitis media.
2. Poor immunity of children
Children’s immunity is poor, not only the immune function of middle ear is underdeveloped, all organs are relatively fragile, and various viruses and bacteria are relatively easy to invade.
The common pathogens of otitis media are pneumococci and influenza. When children have a cold, the nasal cavity is blocked, there is much runny, adenoids are active in inflammation and hyperplasia, and some secretions and bacteria in the nasopharynx are accumulated. In this way, viruses and bacteria can easily enter the middle ear cavity through the eustachian tube and cause otitis media. If children suffer from measles, scarlet fever, pertussis and other infectious diseases, the incidence of otitis media will increase.
3. Spitting and choking milk
Children’s gastrointestinal development is not perfect, and some air is swallowed when eating, so in the feeding process or soon after feeding, they often regurgitate, resulting in food in the esophagus or stomach flowing back into the throat, mouth or nose. If choking occurs, bacteria are more likely to enter through the eustachian tube, leading to otitis media or suppurative otitis media.
When the mother is breastfeeding, the posture and method of feeding should be correct. Infants and young children should be picked up for feeding, and not too much or too urgent for artificial feeding. In particular, avoid letting your baby lie there and suckle, or breast-feeding with your baby in your arms.
4. Abuse of nipples
Many mothers love to let their children sleep peacefully with “comfort nipples” without bottles. However, children’s frequent sucking can easily cause the bacteria to infiltrate the eustachian tube from the back of the nose, and then cause middle ear inflammation.
So after half a year old, the baby should stop using the pacifier at the latest 10 months later. Mothers can use the plush toys to attract the children’s attention before going to bed and let him quietly hold it to sleep.
5. Blowing your nose
Once the baby has rhinitis and more snot, the parents will often blow his nose, but if the method of blowing his nose is not right, it is likely that the baby will suffer from otitis media.
Wrong way: hold the wings of both sides of the nose with two fingers and blow your nose hard. Because the nostrils on both sides of the child are pinched, the way out of the snot is blocked, and then it is forced by external forces to spray out to the posterior nostril, and invades the middle ear through the eustachian tube, in which bacteria and viruses take the opportunity to reproduce and cause inflammation.
Correct method: hold one side of the nostril of the child with your finger, blow out the nostril of the opposite side with a little force, and then blow out the other side with the same method. If your child’s nose is blocked and hard to blow, you can first use ephedrine nasal drops for children, and then blow after the nasal ventilation.
6. Choking in swimming
Most of the children are beginners of swimming. It is not uncommon for their noses to choke. Because the development of children’s eustachian tube is not perfect, it is not like that of adult’s eustachian tube, which can hinder the choking water to some extent. Therefore, once swimming chokes water, bacteria in the water are more likely to retrograde through the nasal cavity and nasopharynx to the eustachian tube and spread to the mucosa of the middle ear cavity, resulting in edema and infection, resulting in middle ear effusion and blockage, and secretion (commonly known as “pus”) can not flow out, resulting in acute otitis media.
It should be noted that if the ears are not cleaned in time after swimming, the humid environment will also create favorable conditions for bacterial reproduction, which is likely to lead to otitis, periostitis and then lead to otitis media.
Some parents like to pull out their babies’ ears on a regular basis. They think it’s dirty and hinders their hearing. In fact, the role of earwax is just like a sentry, guarding the door of the external auditory canal, preventing foreign bodies from invading the ear, protecting the ear canal and eardrum.
Generally speaking, less earwax is not necessary to dig out, under normal circumstances, it will be discharged by chewing, mouth opening and other jaw movements. If you find that your child has a lot of earwax, parents should not be reckless. Because even if you use a soft cotton swab to help your child out, some of it will be pushed to the bottom. When digging with hard objects, it is easier to accidentally damage the children’s external auditory canal, or even cause otitis media.
If the baby has too much earwax, parents are advised to take the baby to the hospital for treatment.
Acute otitis media if found in a timely manner, the right medicine, generally will be cured immediately, will not affect children’s hearing later. But if not treated in time, it will become chronic otitis media, which may lead to permanent hearing loss, even life-threatening.
Some children have otitis media, there is no obvious cold and fever symptoms, may be only a low temperature below 38 ℃, or runny nose, so it is easy to be ignored by parents; and ear pain, hearing loss and other symptoms are sometimes very vague, especially for children under 3 years old, the ability of language expression is not very strong, it is difficult to tell parents exactly what is not comfortable. Therefore, parents are reminded to attach great importance to the following situations when the baby:
1. It doesn’t hurt for a while, but the spirit is not as good as usual;
2. Grasp the ear, or pull out the ear hole with your finger from time to time;
3. Ignore the adult’s words, always ask the adult to repeat them, or like to turn the TV on very loud.
Link：Otitis media is one of the common diseases in childhood
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