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Caring for Your Child’s Ear Infection

Doctor Examining Boy's Ear

Ear infections are very common among kids that are 6 months old to three years of age. They aren’t contagious, and they aren’t usually very serious either. Yet, seeing our kids unusually fuzzy and having trouble sleeping can make us feel helpless at times. It’s even worse when we don’t know what’s bothering them. Here are some signs that indicate an ear infection, as well as ways you can treat them.

What Causes an Ear Infection?

Middle ear infections are called otitis media. They occur when the middle ear becomes inflamed and when fluid builds up behind the eardrum. The eustachian tube connects the middle ear with the back of the throat and the nose. The tube tends to get swollen during a cold. Bacteria use this opportunity to travel from the back of the throat to the ear, which causes the infection. 

Children are more likely to develop ear infections because their eustachian tube is much smaller than adults. Therefore, bacteria can travel to the ear a lot easier and faster, and fluid gets trapped easier too. Their immune system is weaker, and it’s harder for your child to fight off an infection. 

Signs That My Child Has an Ear Infection

Keep an eye out for these common signs:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tugging or pulling at their ears
  • Trouble hearing quieter sounds
  • Fussiness and crying 
  • Unexplained fever
  • Problems with balance 
  • Fluid coming out from ear

Who Is at Higher Risk?

Some children are more at risk for ear infections than others. Although anyone can become a victim, here are some reasons that make your child more prone to them:

  • If they have allergies
  • Your child is less than 5 years old
  • They are exposed to cigarette smoke. This smoke makes the eustachian tube swell up, which makes ear infections more likely.
  • If they were not breastfed. Breast milk has antibodies that fortify your child’s immune system.
  • If bottle fed, and especially if they are lying too flat when feeding. Milk can travel to the eustachian tube and cause inflammation.

How to Treat Ear Infections

Take your child to the family physician, so they can diagnose the severity of the infection. If your child isn’t experiencing too much discomfort or a high fever, then your family physician may wait one or two days before prescribing antibiotics. If the infection doesn’t get any better, take your child back to the doctor. Antibiotics are prescribed if the infection is there after 48 hours, if there is new fluid, if your child has severe pain, or if they have a high fever.

Don’t use any over-the-counter medications if your child is under 6 years old, before speaking with your family physician. Sometimes, ibuprofen will be recommended to soothe the pain if your child drinks plenty of water. 

There are a couple of things you can do at home as well. You can place a warm compress or a cold pack on your child’s ear to help with pain. Give your child lots of cold fluids to keep them hydrated. Look out for discharge and wipe it away gently. You don’t want to plug the ear with cotton.

The Best Care at MD365® 

If your child has an ear infection, schedule an appointment with MD365® today. Our family physicians will examine your child to determine what treatment is appropriate. MD365® offers comprehensive healthcare for you and your family. You can reach us any day of the year, and we offer very competitive pricing. If you want to learn more about our services, give us a call. Your child will be in great hands.

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