Are ear infections contagious? Who knows how such rumors get started? As a new mom, you’re bound to hear such tittle-tattle about your baby’s health. We suggest you do what you’re doing and obtain the facts before buying into myths.
Happily, they are not, since by age five, almost 100% of all kids contact one or more ear infections. They are caused by bacteria, nestled in back of the child’s eardrum. This can lead to increased pressure in the middle ear that is painful.
One possible source of misinformation could be that ear infections commonly follow colds and colds are contagious.
Earaches usually stem from a middle or external ear infection. Fungi, viruses and allergies are common culprits. If your child gets an earache, but doesn’t have an infection, potential causes are: getting hit on his ear, cold and wind.
What is an External Ear Infection?
Otitis externa, the medical term for infection of the ear canal and outer ear is a.k.a. swimmers ear. It demonstrates in kids who swim frequently. Consistently getting their ears wet softens the external ear. In turn the soft, moist area becomes a playground where microbes thrive.
Are Ear Infections Contagious if they are External?
More good-to-know information for moms is that outer ear infections are not contagious. In addition to repeated exposure to moisture, outer ear infections may be caused by poking items like cotton swabs into the ear.
On rare occasions, the microbes from outer ear infections can be contagious to certain at risk individuals, due to inadequate hygiene.
What is an Inner Ear Infection?
Otitis media is the medical term for infection of the inner ear and are generally viral. Occasionally these infections are bacterial.
Eustachian tubes run from the middle ear to the soft palate. Fluids can back up in the tubes, which invite bacteria to invade and cause inflammation and infection.
Kid’s ear canals are curved, but straighten as they age. The curvy shape appears to foster the ideal environment for build-up of fluid and infection.
This is a structural explanation; however, practitioners of natural healing believe food allergies play a pivotal role. Allergies can develop chronic mucous that blocks and puts pressure on Eustachian tubes. Similar to the wet environment of swimmer’s ear, the inner-ear tissue remains moist due to mucous. This makes the child vulnerable to bacterial ear infections.
Cow’s milk is the leading cause of this cycle. Breast milk has proven to be an effective deterrent to chronic ear infections in children. You might try removing all milk products from your toddler’s diet if she is prone to recurrent inner ear infections.
Are Antibiotics an Effective Cure for Ear Infections?
As a concerned parent, you will have to make the final determination about whether or not to subject your child to antibiotics. If you decide to use them, ensure that you give your child supplements containing friendly bacteria, such aslactobacillus acidophilus. (You can obtain supplements in powdered form.)
Antibiotics destroy both bad and good bacteria. Supplements help restore good intestinal bacteria.
Because doctors have been so free-handed with prescriptions for antibiotics, drug resistant strains of bacteria or “superbugs” are developing rapidly. This means when your child does require an antibiotic, it may be useless.
In this event, many mainstream doctors resort to inserting invasive ear tubes to drain the ear fluid.
How do Ear Tubes Work?
During the insertion of ear tubes, your child will be subjected to general anesthesia. An ENT must place tubes in the eardrum to drain the fluid. The tubes will remain about six months or more. By supplying a channel for the fluid to drain from the middle ear, it is possible to avert an ear infection. They may also avoid hearing loss resulting from frequent ear infections.
General anesthesia puts a burden on the child’s liver. Statistics substantiate that ear infections occur in some children, despite the tubes. Permanent scarring of the eardrum is a potential side-effect.
Eustachian tubes can malfunction and the middle ear will fail to drain. Probable causes are: recurrent colds, habitual sinus infections and nasal allergies.
Are there Alternative Therapies for Ear Infections?
You may want to explore chiropractic care to eliminate chronic ear infections by restoring the child’s breathing back to normal. Without getting overly scientific, misaligned or fused vertebrae can affect the respiratory system. Restricted breathing can culminate in poor drainage from the head and neck, causing chronic buildup of fluid.
Hands-on manipulation can realign vertebrae and potentially end the ear infection cycle.
Children who have recurring infections of any kind have low-functioning immune systems, possibly from excess sugar consumption. In addition to eliminating milk and milk products, considering removing sugar from your child’s diet.
Oldest Therapy for Ear Infections Takes on Modern Twist
As a reminder, 80% of kids with ear infections improve in about 2-7 days without antibiotics. It’s best to provide comfort for their symptoms and wait about 48-72 hours before talking to their pediatrician about antibiotics.
For decades, moms have relied on moist heat to relieve their children’s earache pains. Applications include:
- Warm compress made by running hot water over a soft cloth and wringing out excess. When the cloth gets cool repeat process.
- Fill hot water bottle about ½ full of water and wrap in towel. Let your child sleep on it.
- Turn a blow dryer on low heat and blow in child’s ear.
- Socks filled with salt or rice and heated in microwave.
These are tried and true remedies for discomfort associated with earaches. What they are not is convenient and some tend to be messy.
Hello Mom! What if we told you about an innovative, convenient method to apply heat to your little one’s ear? No more fiddling around, pouring salt into socks…no more drippy compresses…absolutely no more awkwardly holding things on your wiggly kid’s ear.
The Ouchie Cap is the next best thing to magic! You may choose from two adorable animal-shaped caps – Toby the puppy and Tulip the bunny – imagined into reality by a frustrated dad, just trying to make his kid quit hurting and quit crying.
These almost magical caps are convenient. Simply zap the two gel child ice packs in the microwave. Then insert the non-toxic, latex free gel packs inside the cap. Finally, adjust Toby or Tulip to fit your child’s head.
Together – let us snap our fingers.
That’s about how long it takes for delicious warmth to settle in and around your child’s ear and start making him feel all better.
Now, we’ve answered your question “Are ear infections contagious?”
So, tell us – did we have you at “Hello mom”?
Click to see how the Ouchie Cap is a Natural Earache Remedy For Toddlers & Infants.