How to Identify if Your Child has an Ear Infection

Kids can get a lot of ear infections. They can be painful, uncomfortable, and are especially common during cold and flu season. An ear infection is inflammation of the middle ear, usually caused by a virus or bacteria, and happens when fluid builds up behind the eardrum and becomes infected. A child’s ears don’t drain like an adult’s ears, so kids are more likely to get an inner ear infection. In fact, one of the most common reasons parents brings their children to ENT is for an ear infection.

Symptoms of an ear infection:

Ear pain is usually the first sign of an infection, especially if your child is just getting over a cold. Other symptoms may include:

  • Behind the ear, you may notice sudden swelling, heat, or tenderness.
  • Kids ear may turn red, ear canal, or skin around or behind the ear
  • Drainage from the ear that doesn’t look like earwax
  • Itching of the ear or ear canal
  • Trouble hearing or responding to quiet sounds
  • Fever (especially in babies and younger children)
  • Clumsiness or problems with balance
  • Fussiness and crying
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Ear infections in babies and young children

It may be hard to recognize an ear infection in a baby or child who is too young to tell you how he or she feels. You can watch for things like:

  • Tugging or pulling on the ears
  • Crankiness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Trouble sleeping

A baby also may push the bottle away because the pressure in his or her ears makes it hurt to swallow.

I think my child has an ear infection, now what?

If you think your child has an ear infection, contact your pediatrician for an appointment. Ear infections sometimes go away without medication, but your doctor will know the best approach to treating the infection. There also are things you can do to treat your child’s pain. A warm washcloth applied to the outside of the ear can be soothing, and non-prescription painkillers and fever reducers, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may help.

If this still didn’t help get your children to hospital without any delay

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