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What happens if my child keeps getting ear infections?

Ear, Nose & Throat Children’s Health
DOCTOR’S ANSWER (1)

When you say your son was diagnosed with a middle ear infection, this usually means that he had an infection of his eardrum with possibly some infected fluid trapped behind. If a short course of antibiotics doesn’t help, then the usual treatment is to have a tiny ventilation tube called a “grommet”, inserted into the eardrum to improve the ventilation of the middle ear.

In young kids, this is done as a short and very safe day case procedure asleep under general anaesthetic.  Sometimes, removal of the enlarged adenoid tissue blocking the back of the nose and the Eustachian pressure tubes which connect to the ears, is performed at the same operation together with the grommet insertion.

Many children with recurrent ear infections also tend to suffer from chronic nose infections, which cause them to suffer a persistently blocked and runny nose (see photos).

Although some other doctors might prescribe a prolonged course of antibiotics lasting several weeks for the child with recurrent middle ear infections, I often find this doesn’t help much and only temporarily settles the problem.

Once the antibiotics are stopped, I notice the ear infections tend to return. In addition, the side effects of long courses of antibiotics e.g. upset tummy with loose stool, as well as the risk of growing antibiotic-resistant “bugs” in your child’s ears have to be carefully considered before starting a young child on them.


Dr Annabelle Leong
MBBS (Hons)(London), BSc (Hons), DOHNS (England), FRCS-ORLHNS (England)

The ENT Clinic

Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital
38 Irrawaddy Road, #07-46/47
Singapore 329563


734 views 3 Oct 2018
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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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