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What are the causes of ear infection?

Q: My son is nine months old. He had an ear infection (external ear) when he was 2.5 months old. He had fever and pus came out from the ear. What are the causes of ear infection? What precautions should be taken to avoid ear infection in future? Is there a chance of getting ear infection if saline drops are used in the nose?

A:The commonest cause of such ear discharge and fever is Acute Otitis Media. There is a tube called the Eustachian tube between the ear and the throat. Whenever a child gets a cold, the infection may ascend up through this tube and set up an inflammation inside the ear. This, along with the common cold, may produce fever. Also, you may find that the child cries a lot, being unable to bear the pain in the ear. One way of prevention is to treat any cold at the earliest. As part of the treatment for cold, saline drops in the nose may be appropriate. Proper posture while feeding the child may reduce the incidence of such ear infection. During feeding, the child must be held with the head upright. Feeding should be avoided when the child is lying down. Usually, with proper treatment, ear infections heal very well.

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