For decades the most common reason for a visit to the pediatrician or family doctor: ear infections. In fact, so many kids got them, the CDC stopped keeping track of the numbers for a while since it overwhelmed their system.
But now, there is some good news on the “wake up in the middle of the night screaming about ears” front. Over the past ten years, the number of ear infections have dropped by more than one- third.
That’s 500,000 fewer trips to the doctor (and a lot more uninterrupted sleep).
Experts say there are probably three things parents can thank for the drop:
Fewer parents smoking. Less smoke = less clogging and fluid in the middle ear.
More kids getting their immunizations, especially the Strep Pneumonia vaccine. It works against one of the most common germs that causes ear infections.
A rise in the number of babies who are breast fed. We know breast feeding protects the ears- not just in the months after birth, but long afterwards.
Other than that, pediatricians say they’re not sure why cases are down- but that’s okay. It’s just good to get good news about one of the most common infections in America.