Having an ear infection is one of the most annoying feelings for anyone to go through. So imagine how distraught a baby or child would be. If you have a screaming baby with ear pain, there are certain signs, symptoms, and ways to be able to spot an ear infection to help you ease their pain.
An ear infection is inflammation of the middle ear, which is usually caused by bacteria, as a result of fluid building up behind the eardrum. While anyone can suffer from an ear infection, children tend to be a target more often than adults. Not only are ear infections the most common reason parents tend to take their kids to see a doctor, but also five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday.
Here’s everything you need to know about spotting an ear infection as well as dealing with it and ways to prevent it:
Symptoms of an Ear infection:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Crying more than usual
- Trouble sleeping
- Ear drainage
- Hearing difficulties
- Loss of balance
- Loss of appetite
How to prevent ear infections:
- Breastfeeding your baby for the first year can aid in creating antibodies and therefore reduce the risk of ear infections.
- If your baby is bottle-fed, make sure that he/she is sitting up as milk tends to flow into the middle ear if the child is lying down while sucking on a bottle.
- Try to prevent colds as much as possible by taking the necessary hygiene precautions such as cleaning hands regularly, limiting group care interactions and disinfecting public areas.
- Avoid exposing your child to allergens. The mucus created from allergies tends to block the eustachian tube which increases the risk of your child getting an ear infection.
- Avoid smoking near your child as many studies show that children who are exposed to second-hand smoking are more than twice as likely to suffer from an ear infection.
- Give your kids pneumococcal, flu, and meningitis vaccines.
Treatment of an ear infection:
While most ear infections tend to go away on their own over the course of a few days, it is important to see a doctor to decide whether your child will need an antibiotic. In most cases, if your child’s symptoms do not improve after a few days, then most likely he will need an antibiotic to cure the infection. The doctor could prescribe an antibiotic such as amoxicillin to be taken for the next 7-10 days as well as pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or ear drops.
Always visit your child’s doctor if you suspect a case of ear infection.