Prevent a Middle Ear Infection

Not all middle ear infections (also called otitis media) can be prevented, but if you are battling chronic ear infections the following tips may help you decrease the frequency of infections. These tips are most helpful for small children who are at a higher risk of getting ear infections, but can be used for adults, too.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Not Applicable

Here's How:

  1. Prop your bottle-fed baby up while eating.
  1. Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke.
  2. Many ear infections are secondary to a common cold. It may help to take a decongestant when you have a cold, though this practice is controversial and some studies have shown this to be ineffective. Avoid catching germs from others by practicing good hygiene. Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, and avoid going out when you are sick.
  3. Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough, and avoid going out when you are sick.
  4. Research has shown that children who are in preschool or daycare are more likely to get ear infections. If your child has to go to daycare it may help to choose a daycare with a smaller group of children.
  5. Make sure your doctor takes care of underlying problems that may predispose your child to ear infections, such as an immune deficiency disorder, cleft palate and other anatomical abnormalities.
  6. Other things that may help prevent infections include breastfeeding your baby for at least three months, getting your child vaccinated according to schedule,(the PCV vaccine has been shown to specifically protect against ear infections), and seeking out surgery if recommended by your doctor.


    National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Otitis Media. Accessed: July 9, 2009 from

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