EAR PAIN RUINING CHILDHOOD MEMORIES? What Parents Can Do About Chronic Ear Infections DO YOU REMEMBER BEING A KID , and how you just couldn’t wait to grow up? Man, did we not realize how good we had it back then. Sure, we had bedtimes and homework, but who doesn’t miss summer vacation or riding bikes with your best friends? There are a lot of memories that made childhood special, but there’s one thing anyone would be glad to leave behind: ear infections. On average, 5 out of 6 kids will suffer from at least one ear infection before their third birthday. This is because the tubes in a child’s ear are smaller, which means fluids can’t drain as effectively. Furthermore, their immune systems are still developing, leaving children more vulnerable to bacteria. If your child suffers from chronic ear infections, the culprit might be chronic otitis media (COM). This is when fluid becomes trapped behind the eardrum for three months or longer. COM causes a great deal of pain and can lead to hearing loss, and often requires the use of ear tubes as treatment. Ear tubes are tiny plastic devices that create a hole through the eardrum, allowing trapped fluid to drain out. The procedure typically takes just 10 minutes, and once the ear tube is placed, the symptoms of an ear infection, like pressure, pain, and fever, are quickly reduced or eliminated. Ear tubes usually stay in the eardrum for 1–2 years and will fall out on their own. At this point, the eardrum usually heals closed. On average, 75 percent of children will grow out of their ear problems after one set of tubes. The National Institutes of Health reports most children suffer from chronic ear infections before they are old enough to talk. When kids can’t say “my ear hurts,” there are some signs parents should watch out for to determine if their child’s distress is caused by an ear infection.
There’s something magical about seeing a stack of presents wrapped in bright, multicolored paper. However, that enchanting scene quickly evaporates a few hours later when all those wads of wrapping paper and plastic bows are chucked unceremoniously into the garbage. What if we told you there are countless ways you can still enjoy wrapping and unwrapping presents, without all the waste? Here are a few creative gift wrap alternatives to consider this holiday season. BROWN PAPER BAGS With the holiday season comes holiday shopping, and if you opt out of plastic grocery bags, you’re sure to have a surplus of brown paper bags in the pantry. Drop a present into the bag, tape it shut, and you’re good to go. Add some simple lace or a ribbon for an old-timey feel or get creative with stamps and hand-drawn artwork. This wrap job lets your imagination run wild. OLD MAPS AND CALENDARS These days, pretty much every phone has a built-in GPS, so you probably won’t need the map from your 1999 road trip anytime soon. If you still have an old map, why not use that for wrapping? The unusual designs guarantee your gifts will be one of a kind. And don’t worry if there are notes scrawled across the paper. Old events or directions will add some unique flair to the presents. FUROSHIKI Fabric is an excellent substitute for wrapping paper. You can use a scarf to create two gifts in one or pull out scraps of fabric from old projects. The traditional Japanese practice of furoshiki is all about wrapping goods in fabric. Described as “functional fabric origami,” you’d be amazed at how a few well-placed folds can turn your gift into a work of art. Learn how to wrap anything, from boxes to bottles, at ceas.ku.edu/ furoshiki-instructional-videos. You don’t have to follow the same gift wrap habits year after year. After the effort you put into finding just the right present, you should be able to make your gift wrap just as special. Find a method that’s uniquely you and get started!
• Tugging or pulling at the ear(s) • Problems with balance • Fluid draining from the ear • Trouble hearing or reacting to quiet sounds
Childhood is full of countless wonderful memories; ear infections don’t have to be one of them. If anyone in your family suffers from chronic or long-lasting ear infections, it’s time to call the experts at Texan ENT Specialists. Call 512-550-0321 to schedule an appointment, and learn how you can leave ear infections in the past.
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