This week The Acadamy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery released new clinical guidelines for use and car of tympanostomy tubes in children. According to the OHNS, by age 3, nearly 1 in 15 children in the US have tubes. The surgical placement in the eardrum to treat persistent middle ear fluid (effusion), frequent ear infections, or ear infections that persist despite antibiotic therapy is the leading reason outpatient surgery for the country’s younger population (ages 1 – 12).
The July 1st guidelines say that children with repeated ear infections don’t always need tubes. They say tubes should not be considered in children who have had fluid in the ears for less than three months. Often fluid build-up the persists after an ear infection can go away on it’s own. The CellScope team’s intepretation of that? They will instead need great follow up and monitoring. Perhaps with a smartphone otoscope.
And kids who already have tubes? Well, the guidelines say they don’t need to avoid getting water in their ears. Swimming and splashing are fair game!