For the last 15 years, pediatricians have been witnessing a continued drop in ear infections in their patients, now close to a 30 percent decrease. Today, a new study from Harvard University may have an explanation; a decline in smoking among parents.
JSOnline Reports: '"When people are smoking less around their kids, when homes are smoke-free, the rate of ear infections can and has decreased,' said Hillel Alpert, lead author of a study published recently by the journal Tobacco Control."
Researchers explain that secondhand smoke exposure in kids can trigger irritation and swelling in a child's nose and throat, causing ear infections.
The Harvard study points out the decline in ear infections in the last 13 years coincides with the what the Associated Press found to be a 40 percent decrease in the number of people exposed to secondhand smoke since 1990 (CDC).
Not everyone agrees the two are linked, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out, and the study's researchers say further research is necessary. But this study highlights the serious health impacts secondhand smoke can have on a child and why efforts must continue in order to protect a child's right to live and breathe tobacco-free.