How to Prevent Ear Infections
The nose and throat are linked to the ears by the eustachian tube. When it opens, the eustachian tube allows air into the middle ear and equalizes air pressure behind the eardrum. When there is nasal congestion, the tube can become obstructed, preventing it from aerating the middle ear. This causes an accumulation of liquid behind the eardrum, and thus an ear infection.
The most important way to prevent ear infections is by treating nasal congestion. Nasal hygiene is done with a syringe or a nasal irrigation bottle containing saline solution (homemade or commercial). Irrigating one nostril at a time dislodges secretions, reduces congestion and thus reduces the risk of ear infection.
Children over two should be taught to blow their nose. One way of doing this is by putting a feather on a table and having the child blow on it through the nose, with the mouth closed, to make the feather move. Then, have the child do the same exercise with one nostril blocked. The goal is to teach them to blow one nostril at a time well enough to reduce nasal congestion as much as possible.
BY Mélanie Brière, Audiologist, Polyclinique de l’Oreille