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.

Home remedies Vs Western medicine

Medicine heartWho can suggest home remedies for minor illnesses better than your grandma? If you have a grandmother I am sure she would suggest honey, ginger, turmeric and pepper for cough, banana stem for kidney stones, soaked raisins for constipation, asafetida for digestion and lots more.

Should  you listen to her treatment options or just ignore them as just myths and superstitions?  Listening to and following  home remedies is not wrong.

Here is why :

  • Scientific evidence : Western medicine is on a trip of rediscovering health benefits of centuries old home remedies, which were earlier brushed aside as tall tales.  Drugs manufactured with the same ingredients become expensive because they are processed in factories, packed and marketed. Here is an example. Black cumin seeds, used as a spice in Indian cooking, have a lot of health benefits. They help in improving digestion, in boosting immunity and in treating cancer without any side effects. In the modern days its benefits have been forgotten and ignored. Today researches have proved that they do help in destroying cancer cells. A drug company has got the patent rights for making medicines with black cumin seeds as ingredient. It definitely will charge a lot of money to sell the medicines made form black cumin seeds. Why should you waste your hard earned money?
  • They are safe to use. Medicines with chemicals and synthetic ingredients cause dangerous side effects. Grandma’s home medicines are usually vegetables, fruits and spices from your kitchen shelves. They don’t cause any side effects. While the modern medicines destroy your immunity, grandma’s medicines build your immunity apart from treating the illness.
  • They are easily available. Unlike the exotic herbs used in Ayurveda, grandma’s remedies are easy to find and mostly food ingredients.  Ayurvedic texts too shed light on the benefits of using  these versatile ingredients.
  • They are effective. Most of the home remedies suggested by grand moms have been studied by research scholars and have been proven to be effective. For example turmeric’s benefits have been well established in both western medicine and ayurveda. 
  • They treat the cause and not the symptoms unlike conventional medicines that treat the symptoms.

But this doesn’t mean that you should ignore your pediatricians treatment choices. As in life, there is truth on both sides of the argument. Do not attempt to try every possible  home remedy out there. Use home remedies that has a scientific rationality and a long history of evidences backing it.

Make use of the safest treatment choices available from both Western  and Indian medicine, to help your child . In the end that is what matters.

This is the core principle behind Nasobuddy’s products, safe treatment choices backed by scientific evidences.

 

A Short Guide For Using The Manual Nasal Aspirator

Nasal aspirators combined with saline nasal drops is the recommended remedy for nasal congestion , by pediatricians worldwide.

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The two types of aspirators available  are the bulb syringes and the manual aspirator types like Nasobuddy, Nosefrida, Narhinel. We saw earlier about the limitations of bulb syringes. 

Manual aspirator is the most gentle and most effective way to clear tiny stuffed noses and to improve breathing.

  • It solves the bulb aspirators problems of inadequate suction . You can control the amount of suction generated. A low , steady and continuous suction can clear out the hardest of mucus.
  • The aspirators tips are designed to stay outside the nostrils,  virtually eliminating the risk of injury. 
  • They are easy to dismantle and clean. Just warm water and soap is sufficient.  No risks of molds and infections.

Simple two step process :

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Keep the aspirator at the opening of baby’s nostril.

 

 

NASOBUDDY ins 2Suck in air through the mouthpiece.

 

 

 

The mucus will collect inside the aspirator.  The filter inside the aspirator stops the mucus from going higher up.

Tips & Tricks

  1. Always use a few drops of saline before starting  to aspirate. Hard mucus gets liquefied by saline. This will make it easy for you to clear it.
  2. Before using it on your baby, practice  sucking in a couple of times and feel the suction from the aspirator tip on your palm. This will help you adjust the suction depending  on the need.
  3. The position : Be comfortably seated and put your baby down on your lap, with the baby’s  neck slightly tilted upwards.  Gently hold both the baby’s hand down with your left arm. Keeping the other arm free , to place the aspirator  tip on the opening  of baby’s nostril.
  4. Fussy baby ? Do not despair,  some babies are naturally averse to any meddling.  You can use the following tricks (shared by parents) to make him comfortable.
  • Familiarize the object . Allow the baby to hold it in his hands.  But only under your supervision, prevent them from taking it to their mouth.
  • Play with him. Before using the aspirator,  blowing the air through the mouthpiece produces a whistling  sound , something  that would grab your little one’s interest.
  • Before you use it on the nose Suck in and keep the aspirator tip on his tummy, hands, cheek . He will find it as a ticklish fun rather than as a object to dread.

When to use it ?

Use it before feeding the baby and putting him to sleep. This will help the baby feed and sleep better.

Most babies accept  the aspiration meddling immediately,  some don’t.  Be patient with him, take it slowly,  he will accept it once he gets familiar with it.