The study result by the researchers of University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston about commom cold and ear infections confirms the age-old belief that both are linked.
Lead researchers Dr Tasnee Chonmaitree and her colleagues studied 294 children ages 6 months to 3 years for up to one year each and found that the common cold is indeed a precursor to ear infections.
They documented about 1,300 cold episodes and a 61 percent rate of ear infection complication including asymptomatic fluid in the middle ear, which can cause hearing problems.
Researchers also identified the types of cold viruses - adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and coronavirus - that most often resulted in ear infection.
Ear infections are the driving force behind antibiotic resistance.
Dr Chonmaitree said: "Because we now know that the common cold is the precursor to an ear infection, it is important for parents to make extra efforts to prevent their children from catching colds."
"It's important to avoid exposure to sick children or adults, to avoid day care attendance, if possible, and if that's not an option, to choose a smaller group day care."
Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the study appears in the March 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Disease.