Study: colds and ear aches are closely linked in kids

April 2, 2008

Most upper respiratory infections (URI) in children are complicated by ear aches, according to the March 15 Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Most upper respiratory infections (URI) in children are complicated by ear aches, according to the March 15 Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and the Medical College of Wisconsin studied 294 healthy children ages 6 months to 3 years. They documented 1,295 episodes of URI, and 440 episodes of ear ache. In the 864 URI episodes examined for viruses, 63% tested positive; of these, rhinovirus and adenovirus were the most common.

Thirty-seven percent of URI episodes were complicated by acute ear ache, while 24% involved ear ache with effusion, resulting in an overall ear ache incidence of 61%. Young age was the most important predictor of acute ear ache that complicated URI.

The investigators recommended that prevention of viral URI in young children should also involve ear ache prevention.