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Ear Infections - Prevention

You may be able to prevent your child from getting middle ear infections.

  • Don't smoke. Ear infections are more common in children who are around cigarette smoke in the home. Even fumes from tobacco smoke on your hair and clothes can affect the child.
  • Breast-feed your baby. There is some evidence that breast-feeding helps reduce the risk of ear infections, especially if they run in your family. If you bottle-feed, don't let your baby drink a bottle while he or she is lying down.
  • Wash your hands often. Hand-washing stops infection from spreading by killing germs.
  • Make sure your child receives all the recommended immunizations. For more information, see the topic Immunizations.
  • Take your child to a smaller child care center. Fewer children means less contact with bacteria and viruses. Try to limit the use of any group child care, where germs can easily spread.
  • Do not give your baby a pacifier. Try to wean your child from his or her pacifier before about 6 months of age. Babies who use pacifiers after 12 months of age are more likely to get ear infections.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 10, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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