Chicago Health | Homepage
The Kid’s Doctor: Middle ear issues can be remedied without surgery

The Kid’s Doctor: Middle ear issues can be remedied without surgery

By Sue Hubbard, M.D., www.kidsdr.com

I read an intriguing study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal about children who have persistent middle ear fluid (otitis media with effusion). The problem is fairly common and is often a reason that children will undergo a day surgical procedure to insert tympanostomy tubes (ear tubes). In fact, my 11-month-old granddaughter just had tubes placed.

The treatment for middle ear fluid is often to just “watch and wait” and in many cases the fluid will resorb on its own and the problem is solved. But for persistent fluid surgery was often recommended.

For older children I often see if they could learn the “valsalva maneuver,” which would increase the pressure in the nasopharynx and help open the eustachian tube. This is the same maneuver you use to “pop” your ears after an airplane flight.

The only problem is that some children don’t seem to be able to understand how to do this, and there isn’t a way to really let them know how it feels when performed correctly.

In the study, 300 children, aged 4 to 11, who’d had recent ear symptoms and persistent fluid in one of both ears were randomized to “usual care” or were taught to use a nasal balloon. The nasal balloon with auto inflation is a device which is inserted into one nostril while occluding the opposite nostril and the child blows up the balloon through their nose.

By doing this, they increase the pressure in their nasopharynx, open up the eustachian tubes and clear the fluid. The child can see that they are doing the maneuver properly as the balloon blows up. It is both painless and fun!

In the study, young participants used the nasal balloon three times a day for up to three months and they were more likely to “achieve normal middle ear pressure” than the children who did not use the auto inflation balloon.

This is certainly low cost and can be taught in the pediatrician’s office with minimal time and effort for both parent and child. Who wouldn’t want to try this rather than have a surgical procedure?

I’m now going to look into where to purchase this product (wish I had thought this up) and try this on some of my own patients. I am sure there are plenty of kids that would love to blow up a balloon with their nose … perfect for a show and tell demonstration as well!

(Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award-winning pediatrician, medical editor and media host. “The Kid’s Doctor” TV feature can be seen on more than 90 stations across the U.S. Submit questions at http://www.kidsdr.com. The Kid’s Doctor e-book, “Tattoos to Texting: Parenting Today’s Teen,” is now available from Amazon and other e-book vendors.)

(c) 2015, KIDSDR.COM. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Similar Articles

Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap

Innovative programs provide bridge between pediatric and adult care By Nancy Maes The teen years can be

Make your diet more nutrient-dense

Make your diet more nutrient-dense

Environmental Nutrition By Matthew Kadey, M.S., R.D., Environmental Nutrition Newsletter There is only so much food you

Gluten related symptoms: Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity?

Gluten related symptoms: Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity?

The Medicine Cabinet: Ask the Harvard Experts By Howard LeWine, M.D. Q: I seem to be very

Start treatment now to prevent spring allergy symptoms

Start treatment now to prevent spring allergy symptoms

The Medicine Cabinet: Ask the Harvard Experts By Howard LeWine, M.D. Q: I have spring allergies. Every

Does your doctor’s gender matter?

Does your doctor’s gender matter?

By Robert H. Shmerling, M.D. Harvard Health Blog I've read medical research studies that surprised me. I've

Articles By Category

Family Health

In The Know

CH Lifestyle

May 2017
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
April 30, 2017 May 1, 2017 May 2, 2017 May 3, 2017 May 4, 2017 May 5, 2017 May 6, 2017
May 7, 2017 May 8, 2017 May 9, 2017 May 10, 2017 May 11, 2017 May 12, 2017 May 13, 2017
May 14, 2017 May 15, 2017 May 16, 2017 May 17, 2017 May 18, 2017 May 19, 2017 May 20, 2017
May 21, 2017 May 22, 2017 May 23, 2017 May 24, 2017 May 25, 2017 May 26, 2017 May 27, 2017
May 28, 2017 May 29, 2017 May 30, 2017 May 31, 2017 June 1, 2017 June 2, 2017 June 3, 2017

Categories

Recent Comments

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE
Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE

Archives