Study reveals surprising reason for decline in ear infections

The rate of infant ear infections is dropping for a surprising reason. Here’s what the latest research discovered.

You can reduce your baby’s risk of contracting an ear infection simply by breastfeeding him and ensuring that his vaccines are up to date. According to a new U.S. study, breastfeeding and new vaccines are bringing down the risk of ear infections in babies.

About 46% of infants get at least one ear infection by their first birthday. This number has decreased from at least 60% as recently in the 1990’s, researchers reported in the journal Pediatrics.

Babies in the study were much less likely to get ear infections if they were breastfed and if they received vaccines to protect against flu and Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria, which can cause infections of the ears, sinuses, lungs and blood.

How to reduce your child’s risk of contracting an ear infection

 “Parents should make sure their children receive bacterial and flu vaccines as recommended, breastfeed them, avoid cigarette smoke exposure and exposure to someone with a common cold,” said the lead study author Dr Tasnee Chonmaitree of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Read the full study here.

How do I know if my child has an ear infection?

 Ear infections may be either viral or bacterial, with symptoms like earache, fever, runny nose, discharge from the ear, vomiting, coughing and feeling miserable.  Your little one may pull or touch his ears constantly.

Is it an ear infection or teething?

It is not uncommon for a mother to receive a diagnosis of a middle-ear infection (otitis media), only to rush to the doctor two weeks later with the same symptoms and be told that it is likely referred pain from teething.

Click here to read how to spot the difference between an ear infection and teething.



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