Mom Theresa Cabel has two active, healthy children.

“Scarlet and Harrison; four and one.”

When it came to Harrison, his one Achilles’ heel was his ears.

“About every month we would be going to a doctor to get it checked out,” says Cabel.

Ear infections are one of the most common reasons behind visits to the pediatrician.

“Partly because little kids get more infections and partly because their anatomy is set up in such a way it puts them at risk,” says Dr. Eric Jones, a pediatrician with The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Especially in children under three, the immature drainage system in their ear is unlike that of an adult. Adults have ear tubes that sit vertically allowing gravity to drain fluid. It’s not the case in young children.

“In little babies and kids under three it’s more horizontal and flat so it’s not very affective. So they have a tendency to build up fluid and build up air pressure and if it sits that fluid sits in there long enough you can develop an ear infection,” says Dr. Jones.

If the ear infections are too frequent, it presents additional concerns about overuse of antibiotics. Doctors have an approximate guideline: If the child has three infections in six months or four in a year, it might be time to talk about ear tubes.

“Ear tubes are supposed to kind of take the place of that non functional drainage tube in the backside of the ear. It’s a vent basically through the eardrum,” says Dr. Jones.

It’s a minor surgery performed under anesthesia that takes about twenty minutes.

“A little incision is made in the eardrum and then the plastic tube is placed through that incision. Usually they’ll fall out within six months to eighteen months,” says Dr. Jones.

Little Harrison was on the cusp of getting ear tubes but the infection frequency died down.

“All the medicines he was having to take, that was a possibility for him if it didn’t get cleared up soon,” says Cabel.

Ear tubes can often be a good solution to ease the pains of childhood.

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