Children's Ear Problems
Ear Problems

ENT issues that children may suffer.

Recurrent Ear Infections

Recurrent ear infections are very common in children aged less than 6. They can lead to a significant reduction in quality of life for both children and their parents.

  • Children have poor middle ear function which increases risk of glue ear and ear infections.
  • They are often associated with attendance at day care, nursery and school which increase the risk of frequent upper respiratory tract infections.

  • Acute otitis media (a middle ear infection) is common in young children. It can be associated with ear pain and a high fever.
  • Occasionally the ear drum can burst leading to a hole (that usually heals up but can lead to a persistent perforation).
  • Recurrent ear infections can lead to a significant reduction in the quality of life and frequent time off nursery and school.
  • Rarely, ear infections can lead to more serious complications including: spread to the bone behind the ear (mastoiditis) or meningitis.
  • Children may also suffer with glue ear and subsequent hearing loss at the same time.

  • The majority of children will grow out of the recurrent infections as they get older.
  • Acute infections can be managed with Calpol and neurofen to trea the pain and fevers, with antibiotics for more severe or persistent infections.
  • In children with frequent ear infections the options include a low dose antibiotic given over an 8 week period or surgery (grommet insertion).

  • Azithromycin is a long term antibiotic than be used in children with recurrent ear infections overt a period of 8 weeks.
  • Azithromycin has a long lasting effect so only requires 3 single doses over a 2 week period.
  • A short course of Azithromycin may tide some children over a period of more persistent infections.
  • Side effects are uncommon but include: Diarrhoea and loose stools, Abdominal pain, Vomiting, Nausea, Rash and Headache.

  • Evidence suggests that grommet insertion can be beneficial in children with 3 or more infections in 6 months or greater than 4 infections over 1 year.
  • Grommets will reduce the number of ear infections a child gets and reduce the severity of a given infection.
  • Adenoidectomy can also be considered if children get frequent colds/upper respiratory infections.
  • See information on grommets.
  • See information on adenoidectomy.
Child Ear Infections
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