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.
What Are The Symptoms
The main symptom is an earache. It can be mild, or it can hurt a lot. Babies and young children may be fussy. They may pull at their ears and cry. They may have trouble sleeping. They may also have a fever.
You may see thick, yellow fluid coming from their ears. This happens when the infection has caused the eardrum to burst and the fluid flows out. This isn’t serious and usually makes the pain go away. The eardrum usually heals on its own.
When fluid builds up but doesn’t get infected, children often say that their ears just feel plugged. They may have trouble hearing, but their hearing usually returns to normal after the fluid is gone. It may take weeks for the fluid to drain away.
When Should I Take My Baby To The Doctor For An Ear Infection
- Fever. While some pediatricians have different standards for what constitutes a fever, if you suspect an ear infection and your child is running any kind of fever, dont worry about bothering your pediatrician with a call to the office. Definitely call the doctor immediately if your infant is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher or if your child is between 3 months and 3 years old and the fever reaches 101.5 degrees F or higher .
- A discharge of blood, fluid or pus from the ear . This could mean that the pressure from the buildup of fluid in the ear has caused your childs eardrum to rupture which is not as scary as you might think. The release of pressure usually relieves some pain, and the eardrum usually heals itself within a few weeks. Still, youll want to see the pediatrician within a day or so since your child may need antibiotics to kill any bacteria that may have caused the ear infection.
- No improvement in your childs symptoms. Call if symptoms haven’t diminished after three days with or without antibiotics. Or get in touch if the infection seems to get better and then returns, which could mean that your child has a chronic ear infection.
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Adenoids And/or Tonsil Removal
Adenoid removal or adenoid and tonsil removal may help some children who have repeat ear infections or fluid behind the eardrum. Children younger than 4 don’t usually have their adenoids taken out unless they have severe nasal blockage.
As a treatment for chronic ear infections, experts recommend removing adenoids and tonsils only after tubes and antibiotics have failed. Removing adenoids may improve air and fluid flow in nasal passages. This may reduce the chance of fluid collecting in the middle ear, which can lead to infection. When used along with other treatments, removing adenoids can help some children who have repeat ear infections. But taking out the tonsils with the adenoids isn’t very helpful.footnote 4 Tonsils are removed if they are frequently infected. Experts don’t recommend tonsil removal alone as a treatment for ear infections.footnote 5
When To See Your Doctor
See your doctor if your child:
- Is six months of age or younger
- Has a high fever or bad earache
- Has an ear discharge that lasts more than 24 hours
- Continues to have fever or bad earache two days after they start treatment
- Still seems to have trouble hearing after six to eight weeks
- Seems to be getting worse or you are worried at any time.
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How Are Ear Infections Treated
Here are some antidotes to help you get through the night:
- or ibuprofen are effective pain relievers for ear pain. You can safely use both medications together if one alone is not enough. Click on each medication for the dosage.
- Warm compression apply a warm washcloth to the ear.
- Warm olive oil, vegetable oil, or garlic oil put several drops of one of these into the ear. MAKE SURE THE OIL ISNT TOO HOT.
- Anesthetic eardrops if the above remedies arent enough, these are available by prescription and can numb the eardrum to minimize the pain for an hour or two.
- WARNING if you see any liquid or pus draining out of the ear, DO NOT PUT ANY OF THE ABOVE DROPS INTO THE EAR. See below under ear drainage.
Xylitol and ear infections
Xylitol helps fight the bacteria causing the infections, much of which is in the nose.
- Chewing gum sweetened with xylitol has been shown to reduce some chronic ear infections .
- Xlear® is a nasal spray containing xylitol that was originally developed to prevent ear infections. Using it will help keep your childs nose clean and wash out many of the bacteria that cause these infections.
A seven-day course is the current recommendation unless your doctor feels a longer course is indicated. The whole issue of antibiotics can be confusing to parents, so here are some general guidelines to help you:
Avoid antibiotic resistance
When to use a stronger antibiotic
How To Use An Otoscope
Once you find the right size of specula, you must clean it and fit it well to the viewing end of this device. After this, switch on the instruments light.
If your kid is older than 12 months, you must pull out the ear gently to straighten the ear canal. This will make it much easier to view inside the ear.
Now, hold the handle of the otoscope with your finger outstretched. When you place the instrument into the ear canal, you have to move the specula easily into the childs ear. But make sure you dont go too far inside the ear canal as it may hurt your child.
The ear canal is extremely sensitive. Hence, avoid putting too much pressure on the instrument. Gently move the otoscope until you are able to view the eardrum. Angle the viewing piece correctly slightly towards the nose of your child so that it follows the normal angle of the canal.
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Why Do Kids Get Ear Infections
Kids get ear infections more than adults do for several reasons:
- Their shorter, more horizontal eustachian tubes let bacteria and viruses find their way into the middle ear more easily. The tubes are also narrower, so more likely to get blocked.
- Their adenoids, gland-like structures at the back of the throat, are larger and can interfere with the opening of the eustachian tubes.
Other things that can put kids at risk include secondhand smoke, bottle-feeding, and being around other kids in childcare. Ear infections are more common in boys than girls.
Ear infections are not contagious, but the colds that sometimes cause them can be. Infections are common during winter weather, when many people get upper respiratory tract infections or colds .
Clogged Ear: The Sinus
A sinus infection primarily affects your nose, but symptoms can extend to the ears as well. The sinus-ear connection stems from the fact that your sinuses and ears are connected therefore, clogged and congested sinuses also affect the ears.
There are many ways you can help improve your sinus infection and obtain relief in your ears. Below are some tips that can help decongest your sinuses.
- Use a nasal saline or apply a warm moist washcloth to your nose to add moisture. Humidifiers are also useful to help add moisture to the air and not dry out your nose.
- Over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve ear pain.
- Over-the-counter decongestants can help clear out sinus cavities.
- Avoid extreme temperatures hot or cold weather can worsen sinuses.
- Keep your head up putting it down applies added pressure.
Sinus-related ear problems can also lead to dizziness. If you experience dizziness due to sinuses, you may want to avoid fast movements as it can increase dizziness. Its also important to drink plenty of water to thin mucus and avoid caffeine, salt, alcohol and tobacco, which alter blood flow and can worsen dizziness.
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When You Need Themand When You Dont
Many children get ear infections. The infections are usually in the middle ear behind the eardrum. They may be caused by bacteria or by a virus. Doctors often treat bacterial infections with antibiotics. Antibiotics are strong medicines that kill bacteria.
Infants and some babies and children do need antibiotics.
But using antibiotics too often can be harmful. Heres why:
In most cases, antibiotics are not needed.
- They do not work for ear infections caused by viruses.
- They do not help the pain.
- Usually, viral infections and many bacterial infections go away on their own in two to three days, especially in children who are over two years old.
First, call the doctor and treat the pain.
If you suspect your child has an ear infection, you should call the doctors office and describe the symptoms. Usually, your doctor should ask you to wait a few days before bringing your child in.
The main sign of an ear infection is pain, especially on the first day. Or, a child may have a fever.
Start by giving your child an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as:
- acetaminophen .
- ibuprofen .
Antibiotics do not relieve pain in the first 24 hours. They only have a small effect on pain after that. So, pain relievers are an important treatment, and usually they are the only treatment needed.
When is treatment with antibiotics needed?If the infection is very painful and lasts more than a few days, chances are it is a bacterial infection.
Ii Symptoms Of Bacterial Infection
Actually, it is hard to list out all of the symptoms of bacterial infection. In this context, we would like to show you some most common ones. Normally, the symptoms of bacterial infection are among inflammation, vomiting, cramping, fever, diarrhea, coughing, fatigue and sneezing as well. Therefore, if you have some of those symptoms, you should think of how to treat bacterial infection after that because you seem to suffer from this.
Specifically, bacterial infection is divided into several forms, including bacteria causing food poisoning, sexual transmitted diseases, and others.
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Identifying And Treating Ear Infections In Children
Your child has a bothersome cold for a week. Their nasal discharge turns a little green and their cough starts to keep you all up at night. Then one night they are up every hour extremely fussy with a fever. You take them to the doctor the next morning, almost certain they have another ear infection.Ear infections in children are one of the most worrisome illnesses for both parents and children to go through, especially if they are frequent. They also are the most common reason for antibiotic prescriptions. Heres a guide to help you understand why ear infections occur, how to best treat them, and most importantly, how you can prevent them from happening too often.
Fluid Or Pus Draining From Your Child’s Ear:
While not very common, this is a definite sign of infection, so call the doctor right away. Yellow, white, or green drainage from the ear can signal a perforated eardrum, a condition that can develop if the fluid in the middle ear puts so much pressure on the eardrum that it bursts.
Although a burst eardrum may sound scary and can be very painful for your child, the hole is not serious and will usually heal by itself. And the good news is that your child may start to feel better as fluid drains and pressure decreases.
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What Is A Baby Ear Infection
An ear infection is an inflammation of the middle ear, located just behind the eardrum. Every now and again viruses or bacteria can get in there and multiply, causing the area to become infected and swollen. This, in turn, traps fluid behind the eardrum, creating a painful earache. Anyone can get an ear infection, but its especially prevalent among babies and young kids: Its actually the most common reason parents bring their child to the doctor.
What Causes A Middle Ear Infection
A small tube connects your ear to your throat. These two tubes are called eustachian tubes . A cold can cause this tube to swell. When the tube swells enough to become blocked, it can trap fluid inside your ear. This makes it a perfect place for germs to grow and cause an infection.
Ear infections happen mostly to young children, because their tubes are smaller and get blocked more easily.
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Symptoms Of Ear Infections
- The main symptom is an earache.
- Younger children will cry, act fussy or have trouble sleeping because of pain.
- About 50% of children with an ear infection will have a fever.
- Complication: In 5% to 10% of children, the eardrum will develop a small tear. This is from the pressure in the middle ear. The ear then drains cloudy fluid or pus. This small hole most often heals over in 2 or 3 days.
Tips To Use Otoscopes Effectively And Easily
There are a few things that you must consider while using an otoscope.
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Why Are Children More Likely Than Adults To Get Ear Infections
There are several reasons why children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.
Eustachian tubes are smaller and more level in children than they are in adults. This makes it difficult for fluid to drain out of the ear, even under normal conditions. If the eustachian tubes are swollen or blocked with mucus due to a cold or other respiratory illness, fluid may not be able to drain.
A childs immune system isnt as effective as an adults because its still developing. This makes it harder for children to fight infections.
As part of the immune system, the adenoids respond to bacteria passing through the nose and mouth. Sometimes bacteria get trapped in the adenoids, causing a chronic infection that can then pass on to the eustachian tubes and the middle ear.
Signs It’s An Ear Infection
Because infants and toddlers don’t yet have the language skills to let you know how they’re feeling, detecting an ear infection is especially hard.
Despite what you may think ear tugging is not a reliable sign, according to experts. So what should parents be on alert for?
“In general, a fever above 102 degrees is one of the hallmarks of an ear infection in a nonverbal child,” says Max M. April, MD, chair of the committee on pediatric otolaryngology for the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
The following signs also may indicate your child is suffering from an ear infection:
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Is A Dog Ear Infection An Emergency
If your dogâs head is tilted or it seems to be hearing less than usual, it is possible that the infection may have migrated into the middle or inner ear and the tympanic membrane may have ruptured. This is therefore a more urgent condition.
A swollen, red, warm ear is also more worrying, as it could be an ear hematoma.
Such symptoms should be discussed with a vet.
When Should I Call The Doctor
- has other serious medical problems,
- seems ill,
- vomits over and over,
- is younger than 6 months old,
- is older than 6 months old and has had a fever for more than 48 hours,
- has swelling behind the ear,
- is very sleepy,
- has a skin rash,
- isnt hearing well or at all,
- remains in a lot of pain despite at least one dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or
- still has an earache after 2 days of treatment with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
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Ear Infection Symptoms In Babies And Toddlers
From fever to drainage, learn the signs of an ear infection in toddlers and infants so you can nip this common childhood ailment in the bud.
Recently, I noticed my 8-month-old son tugging on his right ear. That, combined with his unusual crankiness, got my attention. Was he teething? Just discovering his ear? Or could he be signaling that he was suffering from an ear infection? He was just getting over a cold, so I decided to call the pediatrician’s office. The nurse suggested bringing him in for a quick peek at his ears.
The verdict: no ear infection! While I was relieved, the incident did get me thinking. Did I have to drag him in every time he pulled at his ear? That seemed a little extreme. But what if I was too laid back and missed a real ear infection? I decided it was time to learn a little bit more about this common childhood ailment.
“Next to the common cold, ear infections are the most common disorder in children,” says Margaretha Casselbrant, MD, PhD, chief of the division of pediatric otolaryngology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. But ear infections are not always easy for a parent to diagnose because the symptoms can be vague and mimic those of a regular cold or flu. In fact, ear infections often start as a cold with a cough and a runny nose.
While it’s certainly tricky, there are still signs that are specific to ear infections. Here’s how to tell if it’s an ear infection, mom.
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