Ear And Sinus Infection In Babies And Its Treatment – An Overall View

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Sinus infection in babies

Earlier it was believed that children are not affected by sinusitis. However, it has been proven that it is a myth and not true. Children do get sinus infections. The symptoms of cold and sinus infection are overlapping. Many of the symptoms are common. It is important to distinguish between them if you want to proceed to go for the right treatment. Differentiating between cold and a sinus infection is not easy. To differentiate between them you should know the difference between the symptoms of cold and sinus infection.

Differences between the symptoms of sinus infection

  • Cold lasts for 5 to 10 days. If the baby has sinus infection, the symptoms for cold will last for more than 10 days without any signs of improvement.
  • The nasal discharge in cold is watery in the beginning and turns thicker. In sinus infection the discharge is yellowish.
  • Low grade fever accompanies cold and last for a day or two. In sinus infection the fever is persistent and lasts for 4 days or more.
  • Cold symptoms include cough, especially in the night. Sinus infection symptoms include swelling or dark circles around the eyes, especially in the morning. Sinus infection is accompanied by bad breath and irritability in children.
  • In rare cases bacterial sinusitis can spread to the central nervous system. Look for symptoms like sensitivity to light, increasing irritability and persistent vomiting to make sure that the infection does not spread to the CNS.

Causes of sinusitis in kids

  • Viral infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Allergies
  • Cleft palate
  • Abnormalities in nose structure
  • Second hand smoking
  • Enlarged adenoids

Sinusitis in kids can be

  • Acute sinusitis where the symptoms last for less than four weeks and improve with treatment
    Sub acute sinusitis where the symptoms last for more than four weeks and subside gradually with treatment.
  • Chronic sinusitis where the symptoms last for more than eight weeks. It is the result of previous infections that were not treated properly.
    Recurrent sinusitis where acute sinusitis repeats three or more times a year.

Ear Infection

Ear infections are caused when a baby catches cold or has sinus infection or allergies. They can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Children between 6 months to 2 years old are affected more by ear infections because their immunity is low and the size of their Eustachian tubes is smaller.

Symptoms of ear infections

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  • If your baby keeps on tugging at his ears for no reason, it could be an ear infection. Kids tend to pull on their ears when they have pain and discomfort in the ears.
  • If your baby has ear infection, he or she may have discomfort while lying down. When your baby lies down, the pressure is shifted to the middle ear. This causes pain.
  • Ear infections may be accompanied by drainage of fluid from the ears.
  • The child will be fussier, more irritable and crankier.
  • If your little one does not respond to sound, it may indicate difficulty in hearing resulting from ear infection.
  • When the body’s immune system tries to fight the ear infection, the child may have low grade fever.
  • Loss of appetite, vomiting and digestion problems may also accompany ear infections because the virus or bacteria that cause the ear infection can also affect the gastrointestinal system of the baby.
  • Your child may be clumsy and out of balance because the center of balance is located in the inner ear.

Treatment For Sinus And Ear Infection

Sinus infection

Sinus infections can be acute which lasts for less than 4 weeks, subacute that lasts for 4 to 8 weeks, chronic that lasts for 8 weeks or longer and recurrent. Sinus infections may be caused by bacteria or virus or exposure to smoke. There is a growing awareness about the dangers of using antibiotics unnecessarily.

Do you want to know if antibiotics are necessary to treat sinusitis in kids? You should know a few facts to get answer to this question.

  • A research has proven that more than 80% of sinus infections improve on their own without antibiotics.
  • Earlier it was believed that antibiotic treatment is essential to treat kids with sinus infections. Today, the ‘American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommends ‘wait and watch’ approach before prescribing antibiotics to treat sinusitis in children.
  • Sinus infections caused by virus and smoke cannot be treated with antibiotics.
  • If the kid is not dramatically ill, it may improve on its own.
  • Your child needs antibiotics when the nasal discharge is thick and colored.
  • If the symptoms persist for more than a week or 10 days your child should be given antibiotics.
  • If there is double worsening of symptoms it is understood that it is bacterial infection and it needs antibiotics.
  • Not all sinuses need antibiotics. Most of them go on their own or with simple remedies like saline irrigations, nasal aspirators etc. Don’t demand antibiotics from your doctor. Wait and watch. Trust your pediatrician to come up with the right decision.

Ear infection

Most children get ear infections. Children are usually infected in the middle ear behind the ear drum. The ear infections may be caused bacteria or viruses. It is generally believed that antibiotics are the only solution to treat ear infections but are antibiotics really necessary for treating ear infections in children? The truth is that they are needed only in some cases. In most of the cases they are not necessary.

Why are antibiotics not needed in some cases? 

  • If ear infections are caused by virus antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics kill bacteria and not virus.
  • Antibiotics do not help in giving relief from pain. They are not pain killers. They do not give pain relief for the first 24 hours. If the pain is severe, your children should be given pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen for children.
  • Ear infections go off on their own in two or three days.
  • Pediatricians say that children who are not given antibiotics recover just as well as the children who are given antibiotics.
  • You should see the pediatrician only if the symptoms do not improve in three or more days.

When are antibiotics really needed?

  • When the child is under 6 months old.
  • When the child is between 6 months to 2 years old and the pediatrician is sure that it is an ear infection.
  • When the child has health issues like poor immunity, cleft palate, Down syndrome and cochlear implant etc.
  • When the child has chronic fluid in the ears.

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