Prevent Ear Infections

Written by Amy Hall
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Sometimes you just cannot prevent ear infections from taking hold, especially in babies and small children. Middle ear infections are oftentimes the direct result of a cold or flu virus that causes fluid to build up behind the eardrum. This stagnant fluid then becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, and the result can be pain and swelling behind the eardrum that requires antibiotic treatment.

Outer ear infections are much easier to prevent than their middle ear infection counterparts. Otitis externa, or swimmer's ear, is caused by moisture that compromises the delicate skin of the ear canal. Microscopic openings in the skin can allow bacteria and fungi to enter, and the result is inflammation, swelling, and redness of the ear canal. Itching is also another symptom of an external ear infection, and it can range in intensity from mild to severe.

Swimmer's ear can be prevented by keeping the ear canal free of moisture that upsets the balance of the skin tissue in that area. After bathing and swimming, it is beneficial to dry the ear canal thoroughly either with a hairdryer or an ear dryer. If you use a hairdryer, just make sure the setting is on cool, as you do not want to burn the skin around your ear. An ear dryer is made specifically to be used in the ears, and you do not have to worry about setting it to cool. It fits into the opening of your ear and sends a warm stream of air through the canal to dry up any trapped water in about one minute.

Preventing Ear Infections

Just ask any parent of a baby or toddler how happy they would be if there were some type of ear infection prevention in place, and you would likely see them jump up and down with joy. Ear infections are very common in babies and children, but the good news is that as they grow older, they tend to get less and less infections with each passing year. Until then, antibiotics and surgery for the placement of tubes are treatment options that you may need to explore with your pediatrician.

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