Smoking and Ear Infection in Children :Researchers are of the opinion that secondhand smoking causes ear infections in children. Affecting the age group of six years and below, the middle ear infection can be avoided when one is cautious about not smoking around toddlers. Find how vulnerable your infant can be towards smoking by reading the following article.
Canadian researchers state that there is a disturbing connection between secondhand smoking and middle ear infection in babies and young children. They also claim that an infant’s risk towards developing ear infections increases when exposed to smoking in the first three years. Infact, infants become 85% more vulnerable to developing middle ear infections.
Why is Secondhand Smoke Considered Harmful for Kids?
Secondhand smoke is also referred to as Environmental Tobacco Smoke or ETS. The smoke is believed to contain harmful toxic substances, out of which about 40 or more substances can cause cancer. Researchers are of the opinion that secondhand smoke has high concentrations of these harmful substances than that inhaled by smokers directly.
Why is Secondhand Smoke More Harmful for Children?
Secondhand smoke is considered to be harmful for children because of the following reasons:
- They breathe more air so absorb more of toxic substances or smoke
- Their sufferings get ignored because they fail to express themselves
- Their immune system is just building up and is unable to cope with the polluted environment
- Cannot keep themselves away from exposure
What is the Middle Ear Infection?
Middle ear infections in children usually arise when the kids are suffering from a cold, sore throat or an allergy. This results in the swelling up of the nose and throat. The fluids which are meant to escape through the middle ear also get blocked and accumulate behind the eardrum. The germs gradually spread into the middle ear which is often accompanied with pain and fever. This infection is called the Otitis Media.
Symptoms of an Ear Infection
The most common symptoms of an ear infection are the following:
- Aching ears
- Sleeping difficulties
- Fluid discharge from the ears
- Slight hearing problems
- Loss of appetite
How to Prevent Middle Ear Infection?
Avoid smoking at home if you have an infant trying to survive and fight the toxins around you. Some ways to prevent middle ear infections are:
- To breast feed your baby more often
- Wash your hands regularly
- Have your child immunized
- Do not give your baby pacifiers
Some parents claim that not smoking around their kids can reduce the risks of developing middle ear infections in children. This is not true as a child can be affected by the fumes on the hair or clothing of the parent as well.
Treatment for Middle Ear Infections
Over the counter drugs are common for treating middle ear infections in children. However, consult a doctor before using any drugs to cure ear pain and fever. Ear drops and hot compressors are also used for reducing the pain and discomfort in the ears. Aspirin, antihistamines and decongestants are an absolute no-no for children below six years of age.
Secondhand smoke affects children mainly due to a reduced response of the immune system. Middle ear infections gradually become less common among children when they attain the age of six. So quit smoking in order to give the tiny pair of ears some rest and peace.