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How to check your child’s ear for infections at home?

When your child is getting ear infections frequently, then you must do something about it, before it leads to more significant health issues. Firstly, you will have to make sure that there isn’t any blood or pus coming from their ear. More you can see if there is any swollen skin or inflammation around the ear hole. If that is the case, then you should call the doctor right away or go to the hospital to be seen by a doctor.

However, in some non-critical cases, you can check the ear infection yourself, right at home. Here comes the role of otoscopes we will talk. They are simple devices that you can use for diagnosing the possible ear disease, throat, or nose. Before getting right into the correct way of using it, let’s first know what otoscope is.

What is an otoscope?

The otoscope is a medical device that you can use at home to check your child’s ear for infections. Easy to use, you won't need any medical certifications to perform the verification, and your child will not feel any pain. With proper maintenance and use, the best otoscope can stay with you for many years of service!

Depending on the model type, the otoscopes come in pocket size as well as standard sizes. They are ideal to be used in different environments, especially where portability is essential. The larger models have chrome plated and tough brass exterior, and they make use of the rheostatic power switch. It allows you to adjust the brightness of light source while performing any examination.

Before you perform an examination, you must select suitably sized speculum to ensure proper use of the device, according to the comfort level of the patient. For the young patients who have a narrow ear canal, choose smaller spectrum having a slim profile. A wide speculum can be used mostly for all the adult patients.

Using the otoscope

First of all, clean the speculum, especially if you are not using the disposable ones. Fit it properly to viewing the end of the device, and then turn on instrument’s light.

If your kid is over 12 months of age, pull outer ear slowly and gently up as well as the back. It will straighten ear canal allowing you to see inside easily. Hold the device at the handle with your finger outstretched. When the otoscope is in the ear canal, your pinky finger must rest on the cheek of your child. This way you will prevent it from going in a little too far inside the ear canal.

Now, put the speculum in the ear of your child slowly. Be cautious while doing it and don’t put too much pressure on the instrument. Move the otoscope and ear quite gently, till you see the eardrum. Angle the viewing piece towards the nose of your child. The following things must be kept in mind while using otoscopes.

  •  The ear is a sensitive organ, so make it a point to be as careful as possible. Be patient, and don’t hurt the ear. Remember that children can turn their heads or wriggle anytime.
  • Ask your child to tell you upfront if it hurts, even a bit. It will help you know how to send the device in, the right way.

Once you know how to use the device, you will next need to learn how to check out for signs of infections.

The things to look out for are the following:

  • Earwax buildup
  • Hole in eardrum
  • Yellow, clear, or greenish fluid behind the eardrum. There might even be some blood.
  • Bulging or red eardrum

In case you notice any of the above signs, make sure to take your child to an ENT doctor. The otoscopes designed for use at homes, don’t come with the picture quality like the ones that are used by the professionals, but they are quite helpful, all the same.

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Monika Wrobel
Monika Wrobel

I’m Monika Wrobel, Pediatrician and also a mother of two kids from Texas. Due to my profession and also for being a mother I have a close relation with children. Most of the time the parents ask me for the suggestion which baby care products is the best for kids. I have tried to give some review of products, which I recommend in real life and also I have used for my own kids.

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