Ear infections are more common in the winter

Three or more ear infections are cause for concern


JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Here's what's going around in your area: in Clay County they're still treating some Flu A, sinus infections, and a common viral cold. The simple advice wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, and don't eat or drink after other people.

In Nassau County at CareSpot in Yulee they're treating Flu B and Upper Respiratory Infections.

Finally, in St Johns County at Healing Arts Urgent Care in St Augustine they're treating a stomach bug. It comes with a fever, cramps, nausea and vomiting. Doctors say it lasts a few days. They're also treating a viral cold, strep throat in children and older people. They're giving the same advice to not share food or drinks and wash your hands.

Ear infections are more common in the winter because they're usually the result of another illness like the cold, flu or allergy that causes congestion and swelling of the nasal passages, throat, and Eustachian tubes.

"When a child is getting three infections in a six month period, four in a year, particularly if there is fluid that stays behind the ear drum after the infection is cleared, that's when you want to talk to the doctor about seeing a specialist," says Paul Krakovitz with Cleveland Children's Clinic.

Krakovitz says when it comes to recurrent ear infections, most of the time, the Eustachian tube, or the tube that runs from the back of your nose into your ear, isn't working properly. This causes fluid to build up behind the ear drum, leading to infection.

A common way to resolve the problem is to have tubes put in a child's ears to remove the fluid and allow for better ventilation. Ear tubes are most commonly placed in children under the age of five. The procedure is done in the operating room and only takes three to ten minutes.  Using a tiny microscope, a small incision is made in the ear drum, built up fluid is removed and a tiny plastic tube is put in. Dr. Krakovitz adds that it's important to address fluid buildup because a child's speech and language development can be hampered.

"You can develop a hearing loss that is temporary because of the fluid but because children are learning to develop speech and language, they need all of their sensories," says Krakovitz.

Some of the signs and symptoms of an ear infection in children are Ear pain, especially when lying down, tugging or pulling at an ear, difficulty sleeping, crying or acting more irritable more than usual, loss of balance, fever, drainage of fluid from the ear, headache, and loss of appetite.

According to Krakovitz ear infection season runs October through May.

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