I can remember suffering from ear infections as a child and having to drink that refrigerated, pink medicine. The medicine wasn't so bad, but the ear infections were. Can anyone else relate?
When I was a young mommy, I wanted to do everything I could to keep my kids ear infection free. I researched tons of information about preventing ear infections, and while I instituted those findings, I also wanted to be prepared in case my children ever did get ear infections. So, I bought my very own Earscope - an otoscope you can use at home for a pretty reasonable price. I also bought Ears: An Owner's Manual which teaches you about ears and how to properly use an otoscope.
Ears: An Owner's Manual
The 130-page owner's manual is a must if you've never used an Earscope before. Like I said, it teaches you how to use an otoscope, but it also teaches you so much more such as:
- Anatomy of the external, middle, and inner ear
- Causes of ear pain
- How to select an otoscope
- How to complete a home examination
- What a normal middle ear looks like
- What an ear infection looks like
- Different types of ear infections
- How to prevent ear infections
- Complications in middle ear infections
- Medications used for ear infections and their side effects
It's been several years since I've had to use my Earscope, but I am SO GLAD that I was armed with such an amazing medical tool when my kids were younger. A few of the benefits to owning your own Earscope if you have young children are:
- It's super easy to use.
- You don't have to run to the doctor every time your child complains of an earache.
- You can monitor your child's ears if he does get an ear infection.
Two Examples of When My Earscope Came in VERY Handy
#1 When my second child was about 6 months old, I took him to the doctor for one of those well check ups. From the outside, he was perfectly fine, however, the doctor told me that he was beginning to get an ear infection. While he was writing a prescription for an antibiotic, I asked him if my son's ear infection was bacterial or viral. I knew he wouldn't be able to tell me this information just by looking in my son's ears. He sort of gave me one of those looks doctors are known to give moms who ask questions. ;)
From the book I mentioned above, I learned that about 30% of ear infections are caused by viruses which means an antibiotic would be pointless, and in my opinion, even harmful. There was no way I was going to start giving an antibiotic to my baby son who had shown zero signs of having an ear infection. (I had done enough research about antibiotics to be cautious about using them unwisely.)
Anyway, I did take the slip of paper with the prescription on it home with me, but, thankfully, I never had to call it in. Because I owned an Earscope, I was able to monitor my son's ears on a daily basis. Honestly, I don't remember even seeing any type of infection, but I kept a close watch. I knew I was no doctor and that I could have been missing something. My son never showed any signs of having an ear infection, and nothing ever came of it. I can't tell you how glad I was that I didn't give my son the prescribed antibiotics.
#2 I admit, even though the ear manual says you shouldn't use cotton swabs to clean out ears, I did clean out my kids' ears on occasion. I was always super careful and never went into the ear canal - just around the outside to get rid of that nasty yellow gunk. Ugh.
Well, one day while I was sitting on the floor with my second child in my lap (he was about 4 at the time), and with my other 2 kids beside me, I was ever so gently cleaning out the ears of the child who was sitting in my lap. Unexpectedly, he turned his head pushing the cotton swab further into his ear canal. It all happened so fast - he started crying, and I panicked. I remember thinking, NO! Not his eardrum. Oh, please, no!
I ran and got my Earscope to check his ears. There were no signs from the outside that his eardrum had busted, but since he was crying, I wanted to make sure. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw his eardrum - a perfectly shaped little hole! My mother's heart almost failed me at that moment. But, after a trip to the doctor's office, my fears were relieved. Turns out, a perforated eardrum isn't the end of the world. This time I did use the (non-internal) antibiotic drops to keep out infection. It was so neat being able to watch my son's eardrum heal itself, and I am so thankful that there wasn't any permanent damage! He's 13 now and can hear just fine, well, at least when he chooses to. ;)
Thankfully, my young children didn't really suffer from ear aches much. I can honestly only think of a few times that my children complained of ear pain, but I was so glad to have an Earscope with which to monitor their ears. I've never given my children antibiotics for ear issues (other than that one time mentioned above), but I did give them Hyland's homeopathic earache tablets to soothe pain.
Truly, owning an Earscope works for me! I've provided links to all of the products I have mentioned in my post below. Looks like both books are the same with the second one pictured being a more recent version, I believe. I own the one pictured in the graphic above.
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