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For some people, ear infections are a common occurrence and chronic ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss. Some illnesses may increase the likelihood of an ear infection, but there are some simple ways to prevent one.

One of the best ways to prevent infections in general is to practice proper hygiene. Some viruses that can cause ear infections are transmitted through bodily fluids that we’re exposed to through coughs sneezes, and germs on surfaces. Wash your hands often and avoid getting too close to people experiencing flu-like symptoms.

In addition to practicing proper hygiene, vaccines can make one’s body immune to certain viruses that cause ear infections, but be sure to consult your doctor before taking any; your doctor may advise against a vaccine depending on your health history.

Another way to prevent ear infections is to stop smoking and/or avoid secondhand smoke. Cigarette smoke releases nicotine and other toxins that restrict the blood flow in our ears and damage auditory nerves that send signals from the ear to the brain.

Finally, anything that causes a break in the skin of the ear canal can also lead to an infection. Cotton swabs are commonly used to clean the wax out of ones ears, but they may do more harm than good. Avoid sticking cotton swabs inside your ears to prevent inner ear damage that increases your risk of infection.

Keep these tips in mind to help prevent ear infections and visit your doctor if your ear infections persist.

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