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Alternatives to Tubes for Ear Infections

by Brad McHargue
  • Overview

    An ear infection is a nuisance, especially for young children. Known also as otitis media, an ear infection rarely affects adults, though it can be a great source of trouble for parents whose children have become infected. One method of treating stubborn ear infections is with drainage tubes, though they may not always be effective in the long run. As a result, alternatives may be sought, though only in extreme cases.
  • Symptoms

    One of the most common symptoms of an ear infection in young children, especially infants, is fussiness. This is often accompanied by small visual cues such as tugging on the ear and excessive crying. Physically, your child may have a high fever, headaches and a clear fluid that runs from the ears. All of this may lead to difficulty sleeping. If your child complains about any of these things, or if you notice any of these symptoms, you should consult with your child's pediatrician immediately to get a proper diagnosis and receive prompt treatment, if necessary.
  • Tube Alternatives

    According to the Mayo Clinic, a drainage tube can often be utilized to help alleviate pressure in the ear. This procedure is known as a myringotomy, and while it is effective, infections can still recur. As a result, an alternative for the recurring use of drainage tubes is a surgical procedure to remove the adenoids, which are small pieces of tissue responsible for trapping bacteria. According to KidsHealth.org, adenoids swell up when they trap germs, which can sometimes spiral out of control and cause an ear infection. The procedure to remove the adenoids is known as an adenoidectomy. Other possible alternatives to drainage tubes are antibiotics and bed rest, though drainage tubes are often used when antibiotics fail to work. You should discuss with your doctor the best possible course of treatment before you resort to surgery.

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