Approximately five out of six children will have at least one ear infection before their third birthday, making it one of the most common reasons young children see a doctor. Ear infections occur when the Eustachian tube, which runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat, becomes swollen and blocked. When the Eustachian tube becomes blocked, mucus can build up in the middle ear and become infected. A couple of things that may increase your risk of developing an ear infection include but are not limited to:
- Age. Children are more susceptible to ear infections because they have smaller Eustachian tubes that are more prone to becoming swollen and blocked.
- Allergies. People with seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, may be more likely to develop ear infections when allergen counts are high.
Let’s examine why allergies may increase your child’s risk of developing an ear infection and what you can do to prevent them.
What Is the Link Between Allergies and Ear Infections?
Two possible causes for the relationship between allergies and ear infections are:
- Compromised immune system. Impairment of the body’s defense mechanisms from allergies may leave your child more susceptible to infections in the middle ear and respiratory tract.
- Inflammation. Chronic allergies can lead to inflammation in the body. When inflammation spreads to the middle ear, the Eustachian tube can become swollen and blocked, leading to an ear infection.
How Can You Manage Your Allergies?
Managing your child’s allergies can be a great way of preventing allergy-induced ear infections. A couple of allergy management options include:
- Avoidance. Avoiding your allergens is a great way to reduce your symptoms. For example, if you’re allergic to pollen, avoid walks around Webb Bridge Park during high-pollen days.
- Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy works by injecting small doses of an allergen into the body over a period of time to reduce sensitivity to it.
- Medication. Medications such as antihistamines and decongestants can help reduce inflammation and other allergy symptoms.
If your child is extremely sensitive to ear infections, their ENT specialist may recommend ear tubes to help promote fluid drainage.
For more information on preventing and managing ear infections, contact ENT of Georgia North today to make an appointment with one of our specialists.