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Is Your Child's Runny Nose Giving Them Ear Infections?

by Stephen Silva

Many children experience ear infections while growing up, but if your child frequently has ear infections, the cause could be as simple as what's going on in their nose. Read on to find out if your child is making one simple mistake that could be hurting their ears.

The Link Between the Ear and Nose

Believe it or not, the nose and the ears are physically connected to one another. A small canal called a eustachian tube connects your child's middle ear to the top of their throat as well as the sinuses. When something goes wrong in one of these three parts of a child's body, the other two are often involved too, whether it's something as simple as a stuffed-up nose and ear pain or something as serious as the nose triggering an ear infection.

How The Nose Can Affect the Ears

When your child has a sinus problem, it can cause issues in their ears, too. This is because the eustachian tube is designed to help excess fluid to drain from the ears in order to maintain balance and hearing. However, if the eustachian tube becomes swollen or blocked, it can't perform this function.

If your child has nasal discharge and isn't blowing their nose on a regular basis, this problem can quickly occur. To make matters worse, if your child has a bacterial or viral infection, that invading body can migrate to your child's ears through the nasal mucus that's blocking the eustachian tube. This is how ears can develop infections when your child has a sinus infection.

What to Do

There are few things you can do to reduce your child's risk of developing a secondary ear infection. First of all, encourage your child to blow their nose whenever they need to. Explain to them how sniffing repeatedly to keep the mucus in is bad for them. Teach them how to blow their nose safely, and make sure they always have a packet of tissues with them when they go to school, daycare, or a friend's house. Secondly, you can use a Neti Pot or saline spray to help clear their nose when they're stuffed up and drippy. This can help to get things flowing again and allows the eustachian tube to drain.

Lastly, if you suspect that your child is getting a sinus infection, seek help from a doctor right away. Putting off medical treatment can allow the infection to spread to your child's ears. It's better to start treating it during the initial infection phase instead. If your child has frequent ear infections, these tips can help to prevent it from happening as often. Make sure to consult with a doctor to find out if there's a physical or genetic reason that's responsible for your child having ear infections frequently. For more information, contact a medical office like Willow Oak Pediatrics.