Breastfeeding, Vaccinations Keeps Ear Infection From Babies, According To Studies

By Christian Dann Quiroz, Parent Herald March 29, 09:50 pm

A new study said that the rate of ear infections during the baby's first year has decreased. It is said the increasing rate of breastfeeding, vaccinations and lower rates of smoking may help alleviate the condition.

The study at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, led by Tasnee Chonmaitree, a professor in the department of pediatrics shows that the ear infection rates have drastically dropped since the same studies were done during the late 1980s and 1990s, as reported by News Medical.

The rates of ear infection in 3-month-olds dropped from 18 to 6 percent, the infection rate for the six months old dropped from 39 to 23 percent and from 62 to 46 percent in one-year-olds.

The study focused on 367 babies who are less than a month old and followed them through their first birthday. They collected a data of family's history of ear infections, breast versus formula feeding, and cigarette smoke exposure, NDTV reported.

They also collected mucus samples from nose and throat to find and identify the infection. The study team has to be notified by the parents if they notice any signs of ear or upper respiratory infection, which is a common cold, and a study physician will check the baby within five days.

"We clearly showed that frequent upper respiratory infections, carriage of bacteria in the nose, and lack of breastfeeding are major risk factors for ear infections," said Chonmaitree.

"Prolonged breastfeeding was associated with significant reductions in both colds and ear infections, which is a common complication of the cold. It is likely that medical interventions in the past few decades, such as the use of pneumonia and flu vaccines and decreased smoking helped reduce ear infection incidences," Chonmaitree added.

Ear infection is one of the most common infections found in children. If an infant under six months acquired the infection, there is a risk that the child may repeatedly suffer from the infection later in life.

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