Breastfeed, cut smoke to prevent baby from ear infections | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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Breastfeed, cut smoke to prevent baby from ear infections

Breastfeeding your baby regularly, getting it vaccinated timely and cutting down on your smoking reduces ear infections in babies up to 12 months old, finds a new study.

health and fitness Updated: Mar 28, 2016 13:37 IST
Baby Heath

Prolonged breastfeeding is associated with significant reductions in both colds and ear infections, say researchers.(Shutterstock)

Breastfeeding your baby regularly, getting it vaccinated timely and cutting down on your smoking reduces ear infections in babies up to 12 months old, finds a new study.

“Prolonged breastfeeding was associated with significant reductions in both colds and ear infections, which is a common complication of the cold,” said lead researcher Tasnee Chonmaitree, professor at University of Texas in US.

Read: Trying to get pregnant? Better watch your caffeine intake

“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,” he said.

Ear infections in young infants who are under six months old are at an increased risk of having the infection recurrently later in life.

The findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, revealed that the rates of ear infection dropped from 18% to 6% in three month olds, from 39% to 23% in six month olds and from 62% to 46% in one year olds.

Medical interventions in the past few decades, such as the use of pneumonia and flu vaccines, and decreased smoking help reduce ear infection incidences, finds a study. (Shutterstock)

For the study, 367 babies less than one month old were investigated from October 2008 to March 2014, till their first birthday.

The team collected nose and throat mucus samples throughout the study to seek out and identify infections and gathered information on family history of ear infections, cigarette smoke exposure and breast versus formula feeding.

Parents notified whenever their baby showed any signs of an ear infection or upper respiratory infection, which is the common cold.

Read: Five deadliest infections for pregnant women

“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.

Acute otitis media, or an ear infection, is one of the most common childhood infections, the leading cause of visits to doctors by children and the most common reason children take antibiotics or undergo surgery.

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