TYPICAL BABY EAR INFECTION SYMPTOMS
- Pain in Ear
- Pulling/Rubbing At Ear
- Red/Hot/Swollen Ear
- Refusal To Bottle or Breast Feed
- Sore Throat/Decreased Appetite
- Unable To Sleep At Night
- Ear Painful To Touch
- Hearing Loss
- Pus/Fluid Coming from Ear Canal
- Stiff Neck
HOW TO TREAT BABY EAR INFECTION
Not every earache is due to an ear infection. We will review the sequence of events & examine your child to determine if they have an infection or not.
NEED FOR ANTIBIOTICS
A bacterial ear infection needs to be treated with antibiotics in order to resolve. Once antibiotics are started, symptoms improve within 24 to 48 hours.
WATCH & WAIT
There are also viral ear infections & earaches from pressure behind the eardrum. In these cases, we may wait to see if symptoms resolve without antibiotics.
A fever indicates the likelihood of an ear infection in your child. Using Tylenol/Ibuprofen reduces the fever while also helping your child with their ear pain.
There are a number of home remedies our Concierge Pediatrician will discuss with you to help your child feel better as soon as possible.
Some kids get recurrent ear infections because of frequent nasal congestion or the structure of their facial bones. We will be glad to go over this with you.
CONCERNS & CURIOSITIES EXPRESSED BY PARENTS
WHY DID MY CHILD GET AN EAR INFECTION?
A baby ear infection starts when viruses or bacteria grow behind the eardrum in an area called the middle ear. These infectious agents can travel to the area of the middle ear after your child has been sick with a cold or throat infection. If there is fluid/mucus congestion behind the eardrum, it makes it conducive for infections to take place.
WHEN WILL MY CHILD FEEL BETTER AFTER AN EAR INFECTION?
While a bacterial ear infection begins to improve within 1-2 days of being on antibiotics, a viral ear infection may take a few days to resolve. Once the infection is gone, it will take longer for your child’s body to drain the fluid and mucus from behind the ear. This can take anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks. Kids are usually back to being their normal selves in these latter weeks after the infectious agents are gone from their body.
HOW LONG WILL MY CHILD HAVE TO TAKE ANTIBIOTICS FOR AN EAR INFECTION?
If your child is prescribed antibiotics for treatment of an ear infection, it is very important to complete the entire course as prescribed. Most antibiotic courses are 10 days in duration. There are some courses that are only for 5 or 7 days. Your doctor will decide which antibiotic is best for your child given their symptoms, history of what has been going on during this illness and frequency of ear infections in the past.
WHAT CAN I DO AT HOME TO HELP MY CHILD FEEL BETTER NOW?
Symptomatic relief can range from using Tylenol or Ibuprofen if your child is old enough to using warm compresses on the ear and adjusting the position in which kids sleep. It might also involve modifications on how your child drinks from their bottle. Our BabiesMD Pediatricians are experts in talking through the different avenues of treatment to help you and your baby get rest at night again.
CAN I HELP MY CHILD PREVENT GETTING AN EAR INFECTION?
Some children may be more prone to getting ear infections because of the anatomy of their facial bones or because of recurrent mucus congestion behind the eardrums that can attract bacteria & viruses. However, there are a few things that might reduce their risk of getting ear infections.
1) Make sure your kids get their Flu & Prevnar vaccinations as recommended.
2) Breastfeed your infant to protect against ear infections.
3) Never lay babies flat when they’re taking a bottle or breastfeeding.
4) Avoid second-hand smoke exposure for your kids.
5) Reduce exposure to other children/people who have upper respiratory infections.
ARE EAR INFECTIONS MORE COMMON IN BABIES & TODDLERS?
Because infants have small necks, their eustachian tubes are more horizontal and have a harder time draining fluid and mucus from behind the eardrum. Additionally, infants are often in a laying down position which makes it hard for gravity to help drain fluid from behind their ears. Instead, backflow of breastmilk/formula into the eustachian tube can create moisture behind the middle ear. On top of all this, infants’ immune systems are still young and learning. Exposure to viruses and bacteria cause more infections than in older kids until their body learns to fight them off more effectively.
Ear Infections can be very uncomfortable and painful for kids, especially for young kids who are not able to express what they’re feeling. At BabiesMD, we take pride in listening to parents, thoroughly evaluating our patients, and helping families get to the right diagnosis, management, and treatment for their kid.