How can I prevent an ear infection?

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To help prevent ear infections:
  • Wash your hands often and have your children do so too. You can clean your hands with soap and water or with special gel that kills germs. This is called an "antibacterial" gel.
  • Check with your child's day care. Ask how often they clean the toys. Also ask if they remind kids to wash their hands often.
  • Avoid smoke. And don't let your child be around people who smoke.
  • Breastfeed your baby rather than giving a bottle.
  • Get a flu shot each year. Other members of your family should get one too.
  • Don't give your baby a pacifier (binky).
  • Ask a doctor about possible allergies.
To help prevent ear infections in yourself or your child:
  • Avoid smoking or exposure to second hand smoke and do not expose children to second hand smoke
  • Avoid exposure to air pollution
  • Keep you and your child up to date with recommended immunizations
  • Breastfeed your baby for 12 months or more if possible
  • Bottle feed your baby in the upright position
The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the US Government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.