Ear care is an often overlooked component of baby’s hygiene. Many mommies either care for their babies’ ears improperly or neglect ear care altogether. Here are some general guidelines for caring for your child’s ears.
The number one rule for ear care is NEVER USE A COTTON SWAB! Aside from compounding a wax buildup problem by pushing wax further into the canal, the swab can injure your baby’s eardrum. Ears depend on wax to help catch debris and protect the inner ear. Cleaning the canal is usually not necessary. Instead, periodically clean the exterior parts of your baby’s ears with a clean cotton ball dampened with warm water.
Should your pediatrician determine there is too much wax buildup, he or she will safely remove it during a visit. The doctor may recommend using a wax removal substance like Debrox as well. This solution works to gently break up the wax and froths a little to help expel excess wax.
At times, ear hygiene is not enough to maintain healthy ears. Ear infections, usually caused by mucous buildup in the middle ear from malfunctioning Eustachian tubes, are common maladies for babies. Most children suffer at least one ear infection before they are two, and many children will have many more than that. According to research, some babies are more prone to ear infections than others.
If your baby seems to be prone to ear infections, there are some preventative measures that you can take to prevent them from occurring so frequently. One of the most important things you can do is to keep your child away from cigarette smoke. Smoke can irritate the sensitive nasal passages in an infant, and can lead to dysfunction in the Eustachian tubes. Also, allergies and reclined bottle feeding can contribute to ear infections.
There are different schools of thought in the medical community about how to treat ear infections. Some pediatricians feel that regardless of whether the infection is viral or bacterial, the infection should be treated with antibiotics. Still, other doctors take a more conservative approach to prescribing antibiotics. Since more ear infections are viral, these doctors suggest encouraging the body’s natural defenses by recommending cleaning mucous through nose-blowing or nasal aspiration, drinking plenty of fluids, and treating pain with ibuprofen or acetaminophen.