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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Chronic ear infections in a six year old boy

04/05/2002

Question:

My six year old son has had six ear infections since December 2001. Before that, he had only had one ear infection at a year old. He seems to get an infection with every little virus. He responds well to the antibiotics, but the infections keep coming back days or weeks after the medication is finished. Does he need ear tubes, or should I just wait until he outgrows them? Aren`t six year olds supposed to stop having ear infections as opposed to start getting them?

Answer:

Yes, in general 6 year olds have usually outgrown ear infection. Other triggers may be present. The 2 most common are allergies and adenoids. Tubes may be necessary for children with excessive ear infections at any age. For children with `late onset` ear infections problems, it is less certain when they will `outgrow` the problem. You should discuss these issues with an otolaryngologist.

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Response by:

John H Greinwald, Jr, MD, FAAP John H Greinwald, Jr, MD, FAAP
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology and Pediatrics
Director of the Auditory Genetics Laboratory
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati