Chronic Otitis Media Cholesteatoma and Mastoiditis both refer specifically to medical issues with the Middle Ear. These include infections, perforation of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) and where a cell growth tumouroccurs.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the incidence of both these issues is high. They estimate that up to 80% of infants are diagnosed with Otitis Media Cholesteatoma and Mastoiditis problems by the age of 3. Preventing these infections has largely to do with optimal Eustachian tube functioning and there is still no device that measures this.
As a result, though it is somewhat inevitable, it is important to be aware of various measures to prevent these issues.
Prevent Ear infections
One of the best ways to prevent chronic issues is to have any ear ache or issue examined and treated promptly. Do not insert foreign objects into the ear or do anything that could harm the ear canal from the outside.
Prevent Cold & Flu
An effective part of keeping the middle ear healthy is to avoid upper respiratory illness such as cold, flu, viral fever, etc. This is best achieved by maintaining good hygiene that include simple essentials such as washing hands, avoiding infected people, keeping oneself clean and health.
According to the NY Times a daily diet should include foods such as fresh, dark-coloured fruits and vegetables and other important food chemicals that help boost the immune system. They also add that including probiotics ("Good" Bacteria) such as those found in yogurt is good for helping our systems fight off infections.
A nutrition-based approach to prevention is undergoing clinical trials as of 2002. This treatment involves giving children a dietary supplement of lemon-flavored cod liver oil along with a multivitamin formula containing selenium. The study found that children receiving the supplement had fewer cases of Otitis Media.
This has been shown to offer protection against many infections, particularly upper respiratory and ear related ones. Mother’s milk also helps provide immunity factors to an infant. Mothers are advised to breast feed their children for 4-6 months, upright (not lying down) so as to promote a position that allows optimum Eustachian tube functioning. Using pacifiers excessively and laying a baby down with a bottle repeatedly are not recommended as well.
A more specialised approach to the above would be to use vaccines and medicines to prevent Viral Influenza (the ‘Flu’). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends annual influenza vaccinations for all children from 6 months to 5 years of age. This is most often in the form of injections that create anti-bodies and then immunity to the virus.
The vaccine against Streptococcus Pneumoniae is particularly useful, if administered. This protects the body against Pneumococcal bacteria, which is the most common cause of Otitis Media, pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Children, who have repeated infections or those who are at high risk, will be advised to take this vaccine and today it is quite often routinely administered to infants up to a certain age. In some cases, a newly developed ‘intra-nasal vaccine’ has shown good results in helping prevention of ear infections also.
Anti-viral drugs: Today, modern medicine has also created drugs such as ‘Oseltamivir’ (Tamiflu) and ‘Zanamivir’ (Relenza) that have been showing a reduction in the symptoms and incidence of ‘Chronic Otitis Media’ and other middle ear problems.
Avoiding Cigarette Smoke Exposure
It has been noted that exposure to smoke does make a child more prone to infections and thus this must be avoided.
After a child has finished treatment for Otitis Media, a return visit to the doctor should be scheduled. In children who have a problem with recurring infections, a small dose of an antibiotic maybe given to prevent repeated bouts of Otitis Media. In children who have persistent fluid effusion, a procedure may be done to place tiny tubes within the eardrum that may help in equalizing pressure between the middle ear and the outside, thus, preventing further fluid buildup.
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