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Ear Tubes Offer Kids Relief from Recurring Infections
“The surgical placement of ear tubes is recommended as part of the treatment for repeated middle-ear infections,” says Maritza Homs-Guilloty, MD, a board-certified ENT specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. The surgery is performed by an ENT specialist as an outpatient procedure with the patient usually returning to day care or school the next day.
Dr. Homs-Guilloty says when a child has a cold, one or both of their Eustachian tubes – tubes that help ears drain fluid and keep air pressure at the right level – may become blocked, trapping fluid and providing an environment for germs to thrive and cause infection.
“Because children have smaller Eustachian tubes, middle-ear infections are common, especially among kids two years old and younger,” she says. “Tiny synthetic tubes are suspended through the ear drum into the middle-ear space, allowing air to flow into the middle-ear and fluid to drain out.”
Dr. Homs-Guilloty says that recurring ear infections can also be present in teens and adults. Symptoms usually include fever along with pain and pressure in the infected ear. A regimen of antibiotics may be necessary to resolve the infection.
“For chronic ear infections, I strongly recommend having your child examined by a pediatrician or an ENT specialist to assess treatment options, which may include inserting ear tubes,” she advises.