Just in: Breastfeed and vaccinate your baby to cut ear infections, says study

Just in: Breastfeed and vaccinate your baby to cut ear infections, says study

A new study suggests that mothers should breastfeed and vaccinate their children on time as well as quit smoking to prevent ear infection. Read on to know more

In what has come as good news for mothers, a new study has found that if you breastfeed and vaccinate your child on time and quit smoking, you can reduce the chances of your baby contracting an ear infection during his first year.

What the study says

The research, published in the journal Pediatrics, investigated 367 babies that were less than one-month-old, between the period October 2008 and March 2014, till their first birthday.

The research personnel collected nose and throat mucus samples and also gathered information on family history of ear infections, in addition to exposure to cigarette smoke and breastfeeding versus formula feeding pattern.

The researchers made the following observations for babies who were breastfed and vaccinated on time:

  • The rates of ear infection dropped from 18 to 6 per cent in three-month-old
  • The rates of ear infection dropped from 39 to 23 per cent in six-month-old
  • The rates of ear infections dropped from 62 to 46 per cent in one-year-old

The study was led by Tasnee Chonmaitree, a professor in the department of pediatrics, at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, US.

Speaking to leading media organisations she says, "Prolonged breastfeeding was associated with significant reductions in both colds and ear infections, which is a common complication of the cold."

She also mentioned that it is likely that use of pneumonia and flu vaccines and decreased smoking helped reduce ear infection incidences in babies.

Watch: Baby massage techniques to relieve cough and cold

Ear infections in infants

The experts os this study also Infants under the age of six months are at an increased risk of suffering from recurring infection later in their life. The experts also found that frequent respiratory infections, carriage of bacteria in the nose and less amount of breastfeeding were critical risk factors for ear infections.

Dr Chonmaitree also informed the media that an ear infection, is one of the most common childhood infections and is the most common reason for children to either take antibiotics or undergo ear surgery.

Ways to prevent ear infection among infants

If your child shows signs of an ear infection, your pediatrician may suggest medicated eardrops or nasal spray or even over-the-counter antibiotics and pain reliever. In the meantime, here are some home remedies you can try to lower the odds of your child contracting an ear infection:

  • Quit smoking: Passive smoking or coming in direct contact with secondary smoke may increase the chances of your child contracting an ear infection. If somebody in your house smokes, as them to stop immediately.
  • Continue breastfeeding: Among the many benefits of breastfeeding is its property of acting as antibiotic for the child and its ability to increase immunity. If your baby is bottle-fed, make sure they are sitting upright.
  • Practice good hygiene: Make it a point to wash your babies hands, mouth and face as soon as you find it dirtied. Avoid contact with unwell children or even adults and always sanitise the bottle before each feed.
  • Avoid using pacifier: Try to avoid having your child (above the age of six months) suckle on a pacifier. Studies suggest that it can cause ear infections among infants.

However, if you still notice escalated symptoms like rising fever or fluid seeping from the ear, you must rush him to a specialist immediately.

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(Image courtesy: Yummymummyclub, Mucheemoms)

Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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