Ear Infection (cont.)

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What limitations are there on a child with middle ear infection or inflammation?

Otitis media is not contagious (although the initial cold that caused it may be). A child with otitis media can travel by airplane but, if the Eustachian tube is not working well, the pressure change as the plane descends may cause the child pain. It is best not to fly (or swim) with a draining ear. You should always consult your physician if you have specific concerns.

Can otitis media (middle ear infection or inflammation) be prevented?

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Currently the best way to prevent acute otitis media is to assure a child is vaccinated. Ensuring that your child receives an annual flu vaccine and is up to date with his/her pneumococcal vaccine is the best way to prevent the most common causes of otitis media. In addition both early and sustained breastfeeding (for at least 6 months) and avoidance of tobacco spoke exposure have been shown to be related to fewer ear infections. Recent studies suggest that Xylitol based gum or lozenges may have a preventive impact on acute otitis media. Unfortunately it cannot be used in young children, and must be used 3-5 times a day during the cold and flu season to be effective.

REFERENCES:

Coleman et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008 July 16;(3)

Lieberthal A et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: The Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media. Pediatrics. March 2013. 131:3.e964-e999.

MedscapeReference.com. Emergent Management of Acute Otitis Media.

MedscapeReference.com. Pneumatic Otoscope Examination.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/18/2013

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