EAR INFECTIONS - I.E. OTITIS MEDIA (AOM) IS THE #1 DIAGNOSIS FOR SICK CHILDREN BETWEEN AGES OF 6 MO'S - 3 YEARS OLD!!!
by the age of 1, 60-80% of kids will have had at least 1 episode of AOM; 80-90% BY AGE 2-3 YEARS!!! AND 75% of kids will have RECURRENT AOM!!! (I want to BOLD everything in this post and put tonz of !!!! everywhere)!
AOM is the #1 reason that antibiotics are prescribed to kids.
30% of ALL antibiotic prescriptions are for KIDS.
INFANTS SPEND APPROX 42 DAYS ON ANTIBIOTICS FOR AOM IN THE FIRST YEAR OF LIFE AND 49 DAYS IN THEIR 2ND YEAR OF LIFE!The annual cost of these antibiotics total $5 billion per year, and of that $5 billion 40% OF IS SPENT ON KIDS 1-3 YEARS OLD!!! AOM has increased markedly from the 70's to the 90's there are many hypotheses as to why this is. The leading explanation is because there are more children in daycare, due to women moving into the workforce vs. staying home.
A big reason why AOM occurs mostly in children and not adults is because the anatomy of their Eustachian tubes (the tubes that connect the ear to the nose for drainage) are immature and their immune response is immature too!
Because the Childs tubes are more FLAT vs. the adults which are DOWNWARD SLOPING this causes a decrease in drainage and fluid to get stuck.
Some major Risk factors for getting AOM:
- BOTTLE FEEDING WHILE LAYING DOWN, DO NOT PUT THE CHILD TO BED WITH A BOTTLE. the reason is because the E.Tubes function in a Pressure-equalizer-type-role, and when you lay down the pressure in your head changes and can actually suck fluid inside the tube. Also the fluid can travel in that direction more easily because gravity is no longer helping the milk to go into the stomach. Try to always feed with a bottle while at least sitting up, or laying partially (not flat) how about 30-45 degree angle!
- RESPIRATORY VIRUSES & BACTERIA this will often occur because of the fluid in the E.Tubes, because V&B love moist environments - the perfect home for infection.
- DAYCARE- increases exposure to virus's and bacteria, at a younger and more vulnerable age vs. home care. Often daycare cannot be eliminated, but try and look for smaller daycares with less children vs. large classes.
- PACIFIER USE (unsure exactly why, probably has to do with the eustachian tube location)
- FAMILY HISTORY
- THE SEASON (i.e. winter...)
- MALES are more likely to get it than females
BREASTFEEDING IS PROTECTIVE VS. AOM! This is partially because mother's milk has inherent antibodies that she provides to the child for their immunity while their immunity is still developing.
Look for my installment #2 next week on Ear Infections with some really interesting new research regarding how ear infections are linked to skin irritation and asthma! And what you can do to try and stop the Ear infection BEFORE it even begins.