Toddlers: 24 Months+

Tubes in ears? :(

My son has had 4 ear infections this cold/flu season.  Pedi said one more and we will have to take him to the ENT and discuss getting the tubes in his ears.  I have heard that the surgery is not a big deal, but the thought of him under general anesthetic petrifies me.  I cry just thinking about it. He just finished a kids' "z-pack," which worked last time, but this time he is still rubbing his ear and saying, "ouchie ear."  He was on amoxicillin for the first couple of ear infections, but the doctor switched him to the "z-pack" so as not to overuse the amoxicillin. 

I am going to call the pedi first thing tomorrow morning to have him rechecked.

My heart breaks for my poor little boy!  Can anyone share any experiences with persistent ear infections and/or tubes?  My son just turned 2 a couple of weeks ago, BTW.  TIA!

Re: Tubes in ears? :(

  • My DD got tubes shortly before 1YO and again just a few weeks ago and had her adenoids taken at that time.  Best thing we ever did.  Recovery was next to nothing (though lots of inconsolable wailing in the hospital after).  Talk to your pedi about getting put on Nasonex for the remainder of the cold and flu season.  That was what my ENT did to try and avoid tubes for DD (didn't work) but it can help those who might not otherwise need it get through a rough patch by reducing the fluid.  Also, I've heard that once the kids hit 2-2.5, oftentimes the need for tubes disappears so if you can get through the remainder of the season, you might be good to go.  Hence I'd give the nasonex a shot first.


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    DD -- 5YO
    DS -- 3YO

  • My DD got tubes in her ears at 14 months.  The surgery was only about 10 minutes long...the hard part was them coming out of recovery.  She was very unhappy and cried but you wouldn't have even known she had surgery by that afternoon.  She was back to herself.  It's definitley scary but she hasn't had an ear infection since then.
  • My DS had them put in last November. I had the same reservations as you and it was probably the best thing we did. He hasn't had a single ear infection since and is just more healthy in general. Colds that used to last forever or develop into something else usually only hang around for a few days. I would do it again if I had it to do over.
  • After 6 ear infections in 5 months we couldn't get the tubes in fast enough.  The antibiotics just weren't taking the infections away.  It was the best thing we've done!  Like you, I knew the procedure was quick but still was crazy worried about putting him under, but I swear that about as soon as we got back out to the waiting room to settle in the Dr. was there telling us the procedure was over!  Our son had no trouble waking up from anesthesia and watched cartoons on the way home and we stopped to eat.  That afternoon he was playing as normal and he's been healthy ever since.  He actually had his first "well baby" visit in a very long time at his 18 month appt!!  He's had two head colds which he recovered from without it turning into ear infections.  Good luck with whatever you decide!
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  • If you saw how many kids they put tubes in per day at the ENT you might not be as scared anymore.  I was thrilled when our pedi finally told us to get tubes for DD at 15 months.  We went in and there must have been 10 other kids waiting and more coming in after us.  I bet they put tubes in 100 kids that day.  The procedure is a piece of cake.  Nothing to be scared about.  It is SO worth it to have less/no more ear infections.  DS still gets them but it drains out and we know right away.  No more guessing.  GL!


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  • DD got tubes after several ear infections last winter at 20 months. No ear infections since. I was nervous about the whole thing as well, but it turned out to be no big deal.
  • Thank you all so much for your responses.  I feel much better now! 

    I guess what was really bothering me about this most recent ear infection is the fact that it did not clear up after antibiotics.  This was the first time the antibiotics didn't work, and it really has me worried.

    My DS really only gets ear infections when he has a cold, but it happens with almost every cold he gets.

    But it sounds like tubes can be very helpful, and I'm definitely feeling a whole lot better about the idea now.  Thanks again everyone!

  • goodgollie -

    Thank you for telling me this.  It's comforting to know that this is not uncommon!

  • Both of my girls have tubes, one at 13 months and one at 10 months.  My older daughter never had another EI, but my younger daughter still has them.  But all the yucky stuff drains out, which is good, because she ruptured her ear drums multiple times.

    It is really scary having them put under, but seriously, the surgery goes SO fast.  It'll be over before you know it! 

  • I wish that I could have tubes placed sooner in DD's ears to avoid the horrible experiences that our family suffered due to an ear infection.

    A little background:  DD went her first year of life with no sick visits -- no colds, no ear infections, no diarrhea, no vomiting, no coughing, no sneezing, etc.

    Two days after her first birthday, she was inconsolable and running a fever.  I took her to urgent care and was diagnosed with 'red ear canals' but not an active infection.  I requested antibiotics and topical pain medication and received both with instructions to use motrin and tylenol for fever.  After finishing the course of antibiotics, I took her to our pedi to check the status of her ears since she was still running a fever.  Full blown bilateral ear infections and another script for antibiotics. 

    After finishing this antibiotic, DD had a total of 1.5 days fever free and then BAM it was 103-104 and nonresponsive to motrin/tylenol.  Another appointment to our pedi and yet another antibiotic was prescribed.  I asked at this appointment about tubes and was told that she was not a candidate until she has had an ear infection for 3 months. 

    Three days into the last prescription of antibiotics, my DD stopped eating, stopped drinking and just slept.  She still was running a high fever of 103-104 nonresponsive to motrin and tylenol.  I called the advice nurse and was told to continue the current therapy.  Following my mommy gut I scooped her up and took her to the childrens ER. 

    She was admitted immediately and had an IV line placed, sedated and catheterized to check for a urinary tract infection and a spinal tap for meningitis.  Her white blood cell count was sky high.  She was administered Rocephin - apparently the miracle antibiotic for children.  We were discharged with instructions to return the next day for her second injection of Rocephin.  We came back earlier than instructed because she still was not any better.  She then was admitted to the pediatric ward and started on four different antibiotics.  After 4 days of treatment, she was taken for surgery to have her tubes placed.  The ENT said that there was no way that she would have been able to clear that infection.  We were discharged 36 hrs later and battled recurrent fevers for 2 weeks after that. 

    So if I had a choice to have tubes placed earlier, I would have opted in.  The surgery is much less invasive than our experience and the surgery is so short that the risk of being under general anesthesia is minimal.  IMO tubes are wonderful, DD had an infection earlier this week and it was just pouring pus (gross!!) but we are able to treat the ear directly and it doesnt hurt since the infection can drain. 

    HTH

  • My (now 16 yo) daughter had chronic ear infections as a small child and was on antibiotic after antibiotic.  The decision to have her get tubes wasn't an easy one, and I was also worried about the anesthesia, but I bit my lip and went ahead and scheduled it.  It really wasn't that she was so much better after that.  She did wind up having to have the surgery two more times as she got older (the tubes fall out), but I never once regretted doing what I did because I do feel that was what was best for her.  GL!
  • ds got his tubes at 11 months old.  It was great for us.  Yes, the surgery is hard and the recovery is the beast but he gets so much relief.  We've been told that when they get an ear infection once they have tubes, it's not as painful because all the fluid drains instead of builds up.

     

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