How To Spot An Ear Infection In Your Baby
Itâs the middle of the evening, and your baby is awake crying. You cannot figure out whatâs wrong or what you should do. There are a variety of reasons your baby might be crying, and youâre uncertain how to pinpoint the actual cause. It might be a baby ear infection, yet how can you tell?
Ear Infection Symptoms and Ear Infection Signs
Toddlers and babies do not have the language to communicate with you verbally that their ear is in pain therefore, itâs useful to know and be on the lookout for typical ear infection signs and ear infection symptoms babies.
Tugging at his ear
Toddlers might tug at their ears for several reasons, and among those reasons might be an ear infection. An ear infection causes ear discomfort and pain, and in trying to relieve the pain, theyâll tug at their ear. Infants under age one may hit their ear because they have a hard time locating, as well as connecting the discomfort to their ear.
A hard time lying down or sleeping
As a baby who has an ear infection lies down, itâll cause a change in pressure inside the middle ear. That pressure change is painful and isnât comfortable, making sleeping or merely lying down flat more of a challenge for kids.
Crying more than normal
A hard time hearing
Loss of balance
A personâs center of balance is situated inside the inner ear. Fluid buildup and pressure from an ear infection might cause clumsiness, unsteadiness, or dizziness.
Reduced appetite, vomiting, diarrhea
Symptoms Of Ear Infection
There are three types of ear infections:
- Discharge or pus draining from the ear.
- Foul smell coming from the ears.
- The baby cries too much when you lay them on their back. If your baby is suffering an ear infection, lying them on their back increases pressure in the ear, causing pain.
- Clumsiness caused by a loss of balance
- Low appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.
How Can I Tell If My Child Has An Ear Infection
Most ear infections happen to children before theyve learned how to talk. If your child isnt old enough to say My ear hurts, here are a few things to look for:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Fussiness and crying
- Fluid draining from the ear
- Clumsiness or problems with balance
- Trouble hearing or responding to quiet sounds
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Cause Of Ear Infections
- A bacterial infection of the middle ear
- Blocked eustachian tube, usually as part of a common cold. The eustachian tube joins the middle ear to the back of the throat.
- Blockage results in middle ear fluid .
- If the fluid becomes infected , the fluid turns to pus. This causes the eardrum to bulge out and can cause a lot of pain.
- Ear infections peak at age 6 months to 2 years. They are a common problem until age 8.
- The onset of ear infections is often on day 3 of a cold.
- How often do kids get ear infections? 90% of children have at least 1 ear infection. Frequent ear infections occur in 20% of children. Ear infections are the most common bacterial infection of young children.
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So Your Baby Has An Ear Infection Now What
Has your child started pulling, tugging or rubbing his or her ears? Maybe your baby cant sleep and has kept you up crying and fussy all night? Most likely your child has ear pain from an infection.
Ear infections are one of the most common reasons for acute visits to the pediatrician in children between six and 24 months of age. It is estimated that 80% of children will have at least one episode of otitis media by their third birthday.
Treating An Ear Infection
If you notice the above signs, especially after having few days of cold symptoms, you should call your pediatrician. During this appointment your doctor will check inside your childs ears with a lighted instrument. Depending on how the eardrum looks and severity of symptoms, we will give you advice on how to get your child and whole family back to sleeping comfortably all night.
Although this is an infection, either caused by viruses or bacteria, most of the time ear infections can get better on their own.
Keep in mind that antibiotics do not work on viruses.
You and your childs doctor can adopt a wait and see approach for couple of days. During this time, there are a few things you can do to help your child get well and stay comfortable.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers
- Suction the nose frequently
- Feed in an upright position
- Make sure the baby sleeps with the head elevated to decrease pressure on the ear and relieve pain
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Do Ear Infections Go Away On Their Own
Oftentimes, ear infections go away on their own within 2 or 3 days. This is why pediatricians sometimes take a wait-and-see approach for, say, 48 to 72 hours particulaly for children aged 2 and older who have milder ear infections.
Not every childhood ear infection warrants antibiotics, since some are caused by viruses that wont respond to antibiotics, and giving your child too many antibiotics can put him at risk for becoming resistant to these potent drugs when theyre really needed.
If your baby is 6 months or younger and its determined to be acute otitis media, however, your doctor will probably prescribe a course of antibiotics. Pediatricians may also prescribe antibiotics for children aged 6 months to 2 years who are having more severe symptoms. Your doctor may also start your child on antibiotics if his symptoms haven’t gotten better within two to three days.
Even if your doctor has suggested a wait-and-see approach for past ear infections, that may not be what your child needs for this one. So if you suspect your child has an ear infection, call your pediatrician to get your child’s ears examined.
How To Ease The Pain Of An Ear Infection
Unfortunately, children do not know how to sleep with an ear infection. When an ear infection occurs, there are several things that can be done to soothe your child until you can see the pediatrician.
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How Can I Prevent My Child From Getting An Ear Infection
Wash your hands and your childs hands often to reduce the chance of getting a cold.
Breastfeed your baby.
Avoid bottle feeding your baby when she is lying down.
Do not use a pacifier too often.
Do not smoke smoking can increase the risk of ear infections.
Have your child vaccinated with the pneumococcal vaccine and with the flu shot every year.
Avoid The Common Cold
Just as tobacco particles can cause congestion that leads to ear infections, so can the common cold. Limit your baby’s exposure to large crowds and avoid having her held by people who are sick. Once your child gets older, encourage her to wash her hands often, especially before touching her eyes, nose, or mouth.
And also make an effort to keep your child away from sick kids. Again, ear infections aren’t contagious, but the colds that can cause them are.
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What Causes Ear Infections In Babies
Viruses and bacteria are the typical causes of a baby ear infection. And its your infants tiny, delicate sinus system that makes him especially vulnerable to these bugs. The ears make fluid all the time, and that fluid drains through your eustachian tubes into the back of your nose, Brown says. If baby has nasal congestion, those tubes can become blocked, making it easier for bacteria to get into the fluid behind your childs eardrums, setting up an infection.
Babies are also more prone to developing an ear infection because they spend so much time lying down, causing fluid to settle into the area behind the ears. As children age, they spend more time in an upright position and their facial structure changes as they grow, so the angle of that tube becomes steeper and ear infections should decrease, Brown explains.
If Your Baby Is Teething
There are plenty of ways to help your teething baby.
- Teething doesnt usually cause a great deal of pain. A carefully measured, weight-appropriate dose of a baby painkiller is helpful but check with your doctor before you administer a painkiller for the first time .
- Gently wipe excess drool from your childs face, and if they experience chapping, rub a little vaseline on the area to protect the skin.
- Wet a washcloth with cold water, wring it out, fold it, and hold it for your baby to chew.
- Teething rings and age-appropriate teething toys cooled in the fridge can help soothe gums.
- If your child eats solids, a hard teething biscuit can be helpful.
- Rubbing alcohol on gums.
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How Do Ear Infections Happen
A middle ear infection usually happens because of swelling in one or both of the eustachian tubes . The tubes let mucus drain from the middle ear into the throat.
A cold, throat infection, acid reflux, or allergies can make the eustachian tubes swell. This blocks the mucus from draining. Then, or grow in the mucus and make pus, which builds up in the middle ear.
When doctors refer to an ear infection, they usually mean otitis media rather than swimmer’s ear . Otitis media with effusion is when noninfected fluid builds up in the ear. It might not cause symptoms, but in some kids, the fluid creates a sensation of ear fullness or “popping.”
Breastfeed For At Least Six Months
Long recognized as an immunity booster, breast milk can even protect children who are particularly susceptible to ear infections , according to a study at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. This protection probably lasts well after a child has stopped breastfeeding as well, according to experts.
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When Should You Call A Doctor
If your child develops signs of an ear infection, such as tugging on the ear and crying while lying down, call your doctor. Your pediatrician will most likely want to examine your childs ears and may prescribe an antibiotic right away. Seek emergency treatment if your childs temperature goes above 104 F or if they develop neck stiffness, muscle weakness, or bleeding.
How To Tell If Your Child Has An Ear Infection What Should I Do Next
None of these signs on their own guarantee that your child has an ear infection, but theyre all indicators that something might be wrong. Dont risk it get them checked over. Now you have a better idea of how to tell if your child has an ear infection, youll be able to act fast should your child display symptoms.
Feel free to contact us today if you have any questions, and be sure to check out the rest of our posts for health advice too.
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Optimize Your Sleeping Position
Another excellent way to increase your chances of getting quality sleep is to choose a sleep position that helps to ease the strain on your ear.
Due to our anatomy, the best position for maximizing the decongestion of the ear canals is on your stomach. However, sleeping in this position does come with several drawbacks that can detract from your overall sleep quality.
Back sleeping can be quite tasking on your neck and back. For many people, sleeping in this position will often lead to spinal misalignment, body pain, discomfort, and poor sleep. This sleeping position is also a no-go for pregnant women.
Lying on your back too is no good, and it can further intensify pressure on the ears.
A more practical alternative is to choose to sleep on your side. Opt to sleep on the side of your healthy ear, as this can help elevate the infected ear further and increase drainage.
How To Tell If Your Baby Is Teething Or Has An Ear Infection
Teething can cause drooling, crankiness, and the desire to gnaw on things. Teething does not cause a fever. If your baby has a raised temperature, is less interested in feeding, has a runny nose, or has a rash, theyre most likely sick. When in doubt, visit the doctor its better to be safe.
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What To Do At Home
Lying down can increase the sensation of pressure and discomfort in your childs ears. Children over the age of two can be encouraged to sleep propped up with pillows. With younger infants, you can give their crib mattress a slight incline by placing a thin pillow or two beneath the mattress itself.
Warm compresses can provide some temporary pain relief. Moist heat is preferable, so use a clean washcloth dipped in warm water or a microwavable hot pack designed to be misted with water. Being mindful of the temperature, apply the compress over the ear for 10 to 15 minutes. This can be especially helpful at bedtime.
Swallowing encourages the Eustachian tubes to open and relieve the painful pressure. Give your child plenty of fluids. Gum and hard candy can be given to children old enough to have them safety, at least 4 years of age.
Preventing Future Ear Infections
From my own non-medical experience and from reading up on this topic, I can offer some suggestions to help you prevent future ear infections for your baby. This is, after all, an infection, and it often occurs when your baby has a cold. Thus, my tips are themed around becoming a germophobe:
- Keep anyone whos sick, has been sick, or might be sick away from your baby.
- Ask people to wash their hands before playing with, holding, or feeding your baby.
- Wash your own hands, especially after coming home from work, in from outside, etc.
- Be aware that little kids are walking germ factories. They pick it up at school or day care, they bring it home, and they just dont know any better.
- Have hand sanitizer within reach at all times, especially while out in public, and use it liberally.
- Anything that your baby touches will be on his finger and then in his mouth within ten seconds. Remember that.
- Keep people who smoke away from your baby, his room, and his things. This is a major risk factor for ear infections and a host of other problems.
Make sure you stock up with everything you need to head off a major cold before it gets going. See our list of 14 things for babys medicine cabinet for some suggestions.
Stay healthy, and good luck!
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Ouch: How To Help A Child With An Ear Infection
Apr 10, 2017 | News
According to the National Institute of Health, five in six children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. Theyre painful, theyre stubborn and they can be tough for a young child to cope with. If your child is suffering, there are a few things you can do to help ease their discomfort.