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Many children suffer recurrent infections of the middle ear, a condition also known as otitis media (OM).
Ear infections can cause irritability, difficulty sleeping, runny nose, fever, fluid draining from the ear, loss of balance, mild to severe ear pain, and hearing difficulty. Untreated infections can cause permanent hearing impairment and can also spread to other parts of the head, including the brain. Frequent or persistent ear infections in children can reduce their hearing when normal hearing is critical for speech and language development.
When parents smoke, their children are more likely to have recurrent ear infections.1 It is important that children are not exposed to passive smoke.
Humidifiers are sometimes used to help children with recurrent ear infections, and animal research has supported this approach.2 Nonetheless, human research studying the effect of humidity on recurrent ear infections has yet to conclusively show that use of humidifiers is of significant benefit.
Use of pacifiers in infants increases the risk of ear infections.3, 4, 5Practitioners of spinal manipulation recommend chiropractic as a treatment for ear infections, though this has not been well demonstrated in research.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2017.