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Secondhand Smoke Increases Ear Infection Risk in Children

An ear infection is the most common cause for a pediatric visit to a medical facility. Nearly half of all children by the age of three have had at least one ear infection. In the U.S. alone, the cost to treat ear infections is $3.5 billion dollars annually. Ear infections are more common in children because of the difference in developing anatomy compared to adults; however in 2006 the Surgeon General said there was enough evidence to suggest a connection between secondhand smoke and pediatric ear infections. It is believed that cigarette smoke leads to a decreased immune system, upper respiratory infection, and inflammation of the tissue surrounding the respiratory system, all of which contribute to ear infections.

 

In a study published in The Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, children who lived in homes with two or more smokers had 85% more ear infections than children who lived with non-smokers. Even if the child is not directly exposed to burning tobacco or secondhand smoke, particulates remain on parents’ clothing or breath, which may still be inhaled by a child when in close proximity. In addition to the financial burden of treating an ear infection, a fluctuating hearing loss may also be observed, which can delay speech and language development and motor skills. So protect your child’s health and your own by putting down that cigarette.

 

 

References:

http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9802/10/smoke.ear/index.html?_s=PM:HEALTH

 

http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20110128/secondhand-smoke-raises-kids-ear-infection-risk#1

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