Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What are the precautions to be taken while cleaning your child’s ears?

Cleaning children’s ears is a normal routine in many households. Though, sometimes it becomes necessary to clean the earwax because of the discomfort it causes due to its excess production or for few other reasons, taking few precautions is extremely important for the health of your ears. For this, we need to understand more about earwax, its functions and care to be taken while cleaning your child’s ears.

What is earwax?
Glands in our ear canal produce earwax which is also called as cerumen in medical terms. It also consists of our sweat, skin, and sebum. Many people think that earwax is gross or bad. On the contrary, earwax is very useful for our ears and plays many important roles.
Functions of earwax
  • Earwax provides natural lubrication to our ears.
  • It protects the ear canal skin from dust and dirt.
  • It safeguards our ear from water, insects, bacteria, and fungi.
  • It is a natural mechanism to clean our ears as ultimately, it finds its way out of our ears along with the trapped dust particles.

How to clean the ears?
Doctors advise ignoring the ear wax as much as possible as it will finally come out of your ears by itself. They strongly discourage the use of a cotton swab or hairpin, as by doing so, you are more likely to push the wax further inside the ear and moreover cause injury to the delicate ear canal and eardrum by using pointy things like pins inside the ears that may result into an infection. Also, a strict no-no to hydrogen peroxide cleaners and ear candling as they don’t have any clear benefits and are risky.
However, sometimes, it becomes imperative to clean it when your child’s ears produce excess wax that may cause fuzzy or muffled hearing or sometimes get hardened to cause discomfort and pain. Excess wax accumulation can also block doctor’s view to the eardrum for identifying potential infection.
If it is unavoidable to clean your child’s ears, you can use 2-4 drops of mineral or olive oil to soften the hardened earwax. Following precautions can be taken while cleaning them –
  1. Take a small amount of oil in a container and warm it to the skin temperature.
  2. Make your child lie down with the affected ear facing upward.
  3. Apply 2-4 drops of the oil to the affected ear using a dropper and leave it for a few minutes.
  4. When your child gets up, the wax will work its way out.

Repetitive use of the above process for 3-4 days should give relief from the stubborn wax. Remember that you can use a soft washcloth or a cotton swab to clean around the outside of your child’s ears. However, never try to insert anything inside the ears.
However, in case of ear-pain, fever or any discharge, pus or blood from the ears, it is always recommended to visit an ENT specialist in Bangalore for a thorough ear-examination. These can be the symptoms of injury or infection and needs to be treated by the professionals.

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