This is the weekly dose of wellness brought to you by MemorialCare health system. Here's Deborah Howell.Deborah Howell
Hi there. And welcome to our show. I am Deborah Howell, and today's guest is Dr. Linh Nguyen England. Dr. Nguyen is a pediatrician at Memorial Care and Medical Groups Primary Care Office in Long Beach, California. Dr. Winn believes in the power to change a child's well-being through preventive care and partnering with parents to achieve the best care possible for their child. Welcome, Dr. Nguyen.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Hi, thank you, Deborah. Thank you for having me again.Deborah Howell
Nice to have you back. Today we're going to be talking about ear infections and our kids. Oh, that can be so painful. How common are ear infections in children these days?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
They are very common. In fact, infections actually are the most common infections requiring treatment in children younger than five years old.Deborah Howell
Wow.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Yeah. About two out of three kids will get the first infection before they turn to.Deborah Howell
It almost seems like every time they go into the kiddy pool or the pool, they get an ear infection.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Yes, or the first few weeks after they entered daycare.Deborah Howell
That's true, too. So what are the primary symptoms of an ear infection?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Ear infections can be very tricky, and especially in little baby, because it can be as subtle as being very fussy and not eating well. Older children tend to be easier because they will have ear pain and fever. They'll tug on the ears and sometimes they'll tell youDeborah Howell
That's the thing if they can't tell you.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Yes, but, you know, unfortunately, not all the time. I think kids that don't have your pain and inspect them feel for a cold And there it is. So it's very tricky for parents to know.Deborah Howell
Yeah, especially sometimes they think their kid is just teething, but maybe it's an ear infection.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Yes, because the symptoms of teething overlap with symptoms of ear infection. Including even fever. Because sometimes baby, that are teething tend to have low grade fever. A little trick for parents. So is with teething babies tends to drool quite a lot, and they tend to get comforted with the teethers or gum rubbing. And that's when they feel a little bit better. And the fevers tend not to run as high as with ear infections. But it's always best to get checked in.Deborah Howell
Sure. Sure. I mean, anytime your baby has a fever or your child has a fever, it never hurts to get them checked, especially if you have a primary care physician that's nearby.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
What causes all these ear infections?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
So vast majority of your infections are triggered by us having a cold or just having allergies with lots of nasal congestion. There's fluid that just stays in the back of our nasal passages and just in little kids can go towards the middle ear and bacteria attack. On top of that.Deborah Howell
I never would have connected as my two ear infections. You learn something every day, right?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Wow. There's so many causes. So are they usually bacterial or always bacterial or sometimes fungal? Or maybe you can help us on that.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
So, yes, they can be all of those options that you mentioned. But in children, the majority of time it is a bacterial infection, especially in kids younger than five. And that's why we have to treat them with antibiotics.Deborah Howell
Right. And probably keeping their fingers out of their ears, and they probably shouldn't be stuffing peas down their ears.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Yes, I find the most random things in their ears, all the time.Deborah Howell
I can only imagine. Okay, so let's get back to the treatment. Now, how are ear infections treated?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
So with simple infections, we always start with antibiotics, and it tends to treat the vast majority of ear infections really well. However, sometimes we do have the stubborn ear infections that are very hard to treat, one that we have to go through a few rounds of antibiotics. And at that point, we might refer the case to specialists to either drain the fluid out or even put tubes in.Deborah Howell
Wow. OK. That can't be very pleasant.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
No, no. We try to avoid that fate as much as possible.Deborah Howell
And then at that point, how long does it take for most ear infections to clear up?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
So the simple ear infections with antibiotics, the main symptoms of pain and fever going really fast, we're talking about few days. But the fluids itself takes about two to three weeks to clear up.Deborah Howell
Two to three weeks?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
How do you keep your kid happy during the two to three on, you know, your drains and antibiotics?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Yeah, it's very hard once you have ear infections. As simple as it sounds, it's still like if they're dealing with antibiotics for seven to ten days. And most of the time I have to re-check that years if they're young and hope that we don't have to go another round.Deborah Howell
Yeah, and I don't know about you, but my only really sensitive area when I go to the doctor where they really call me a wimp is the ear doctor because it's so sensitive inside there.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
It is and I always tell the kids that it's going to take a little bit and they find that funny. And it prepares them a little bit for that. But yes, it's a very, not a good feeling.Deborah Howell
That's a very smart tactic, doctor England. What can parents do to help prevent ear infections? So we don't have to go through all this?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
So preventing the colds as much as possible, but that's very difficult in kids. Getting vaccinated is actually key because most of these bacteria, there's four main bacteria that causes ear infections, and the vaccine schedule actually prevents the majority of ear infections. But if they get vaccinated by the time they're two.Deborah Howell
OK, wonderful.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
So that was the whole point of doing that vaccine schedule and staying with the schedule so that they don't get ear infections that can actually turn into meningitis or actually infection in the blood.Deborah Howell
Where you really, really don't want it to go. That's right.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Right, right. And we don't see that much anymore because we're vaccinated against the pneumococcal and the hip disease. What else parents can do is actually provide the smoke-free environment and also taking away the bottle as much as possible. Definitely after they turn one.Deborah Howell
OK, I didn't know that was connected. How is that connected?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Because of course, we allow babies to have bottles until they turn one. That's the only way they can get nutrition. But the moment they can use the sippy cup and also other sources of nutrition, we want to avoid that constant sucking motion that they do with the bottle. And that pulls the fluid back into the middle ear.Deborah Howell
I see that makes sense now, OK? So if our listeners want more information on ear infections in children, where's the first place they that you would send them?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
The website, healthychildren.org is the most common one I spent my families to in cases like this. The CDC website is a pretty good source as well.Deborah Howell
Okay, so CDC.gov or healthychildren.org. I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your day to be on our show today, Dr. Nguyen.Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
Oh, thank you. It's always a pleasure.Deborah Howell
Please come back and see us real soon, OK?Linh Nguyen England, M.D.
For more information or to listen to a podcast of this show, please visit MemorialCare.org. That's MemorialCare.org. That's all for this time. I'm Deborah Howell. We will see you soon for another weekly dose of wellness brought to you by MemorialCare health systems. Have yourself a fantastic day.
Dr. England discusses the ear infections in Children.
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