Otitis Media: What It Is and How to Avoid It

how to avoid otitis media

Otitis Media is an infection of the middle ear. Let’s take a more detailed look and find out how to avoid otitis media.

How Common is Otitis Media

In the US and many other countries, otitis media is a very common ailment affecting young children 5 years or younger and requires medical care. It is even more prevalent among Native Americans and children with Down syndrome.

The two main types of otitis media are acute otitis media (AOM) and otitis media with effusion (OME). These infections affect the middle ear right behind the eardrum. AOM presents an ear pain so it is often discovered quickly, while OME is usually painless and can go undetected until fluid (the effusion) builds up in the ear and it can stay there past the infection.

How to Avoid Otitis Media

You might be glad to hear that some of the prevention methods of otitis media are things that you did, are, or plan on doing. They include:

Breastfeeding the baby for at least the first six months.

The mother’s milk contains antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and other agents that keep the baby’s immune system at an optimum. It has been shown in studies to prevent diseases of the ear (including otitis media), mouth, digestion system, and more.

Keep your child away from second-hand smoke.

Besides the respiratory system, second-hand smoke can affect young children’s ears and perhaps even the brain as observed in a higher occurrence of hyperactivity.

Choose a smaller daycare.

This is not always the case but it can reduce your child’s exposure to bacteria and infected children.

Junk the pacifier.

The use of pacifier has been linked to otitis media. A study published in Pediatrics found that children who did not use pacifiers are 33% less likely to get otitis media than those who did. Who would have thought that how to avoid otitis media can open the door to retiring the pacifier?