Ear Infection in 61% of Kids' Colds
Tots Under Age 3 Get 5 Colds per Year, Most With Otitis Media
March 14, 2008 -- Kids under age 3 get five colds a year -- and 61% of the
time, they get ear infections, too.
The finding comes from a study of 294 healthy children aged 6 months to 3
years. Each child was followed for one year by Tasnee Chonmaitree, MD, a
pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Texas Medical
Branch at Galveston, and colleagues.
Chonmaitree and colleagues found that day-care kids got more than six colds
a year; those cared for at home got five. Children between the ages of 6 and 12
months got about twice as many colds as did children between the ages of age 2
and 3 years.
More than half of children who get colds -- 61% -- come down with otitis
media, infection of the middle ear. About a quarter of the time, this
infection has no symptoms, but the child has a buildup of fluid inside the
Fortunately, the risk of getting an ear infection after a cold drops quickly
"For every month older a child gets, she or he has a 4% lower risk of
getting otitis media after a cold," Chonmaitree tells WebMD. "So an
8-month-old child has 8% less chance of otitis media after a cold than that
same child had at age 6 months."
Chonmaitree finds that ear infections are most likely to occur after colds
in children aged 6 months to 18 months. She suggests that parents should try to
avoid sending children this age to day
In an editorial accompanying the study, Pascal Chavanet, MD, of University
Hospital, Dijon, France, takes issue with this recommendation.
"The expectation that ill children can be kept out of day care centers
or that home care can be provided for children until at least 1 year of age
raises very difficult socioeconomic barriers," Chavanet suggests.
The Chonmaitree study, and the Chavanet editorial, appear in the March 15
issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.