How Can My Babys Ear Infection Be Treated
- your baby is younger than three months old
- symptoms do not get better after two to three days
- your baby is in a lot of pain
- there is fluid coming out of your babys ear
- your baby is three to six months old and has a temperature of 39 degrees C or more
- your baby has any other health conditions
- both of your babys ears are affected.
What Are Other Causes Of Ear Pain
Other causes of ear pain include:
- A sore throat.
- Teeth coming in in a baby.
- An infection of the lining of the ear canal. This is also called swimmers ear.
- Pressure build up in the middle ear caused by allergies and colds.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/16/2020.
What Causes An Ear Infection
An ear infection usually is caused by bacteria and often begins after a child has a sore throat, cold, or other upper respiratory infection. If the upper respiratory infection is bacterial, these same bacteria may spread to the middle ear if the upper respiratory infection is caused by a virus, such as a cold, bacteria may be drawn to the microbe-friendly environment and move into the middle ear as a secondary infection. Because of the infection, fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
The ear has three major parts: the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. The outer ear, also called the pinna, includes everything we see on the outsidethe curved flap of the ear leading down to the earlobebut it also includes the ear canal, which begins at the opening to the ear and extends to the eardrum. The eardrum is a membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.
The middle earwhich is where ear infections occuris located between the eardrum and the inner ear. Within the middle ear are three tiny bones called the malleus, incus, and stapes that transmit sound vibrations from the eardrum to the inner ear. The bones of the middle ear are surrounded by air.
The inner ear contains the labyrinth, which help us keep our balance. The cochlea, a part of the labyrinth, is a snail-shaped organ that converts sound vibrations from the middle ear into electrical signals. The auditory nerve carries these signals from the cochlea to the brain.
Also Check: How To Change Filter On Resound Hearing Aid
Still Not Sure Head To The Doc
The only way to be sure that your child has an ear infection is to visit your pediatrician. Take a baby younger than age 2 to the doctor if a cold and apparent discomfort don’t go away in two or three days, or if a fever doesn’t go away in one or two days.
When your physician peeks in your child’s ear to check for signs of an infection, she’s looking at the eardrum to see if it is red, thick, or bulging.
Kids Are Exposed To A Lot Of Germs
Kids are more vulnerable to infections that can cause swelling in the eustachian tubes, too. Colds, allergies, and infections all cause mucus and pus to develop, building up in the inner ear. Kids are in school and daycare where theyre exposed to a lot of these contagions and havent yet built up immunity.
Its important to remember that ear infections arent contagious, but if your child had a cold that virus can be passed on to other kids or your family.
While theyre not germ-related, bottle feeding and secondhand smoke also raise childrens risk of developing ear infections.
Dont Miss: Ear Curette Walgreens
Don’t Miss: How To Get Water From Ear After Swimming
Remedies And Treatments For Ear Infections
Most home remedies for ear infections are focused on pain relief. Itâs usually possible to manage ear infection pain at home while waiting for the infection to go away. Itâs also important to monitor the infection closely.
One popular method to relieve ear pain is putting a hot or cold compress, like a wet washcloth, on the ear. Make sure the compress is not too hot or too cold. You can try both temperatures to see if one helps more.
Pain reliever medicines like acetaminophen, naproxen, or ibuprofen can also help relieve ear pain. Follow the dosing directions on the label for yourself or your child.
Several over-the-counter ear drops are available as well. Most are homeopathic, meaning they are made from natural ingredients. Several studies have shown homeopathic medicines relieve pain and help ear infections heal more quickly.
Sleeping position can also affect your ear infection healing time. Sleeping while sitting up can help drain the fluid from your ear. This may help to relieve pressure and reduce pain.
Lastly, the natural substance xylitol might help prevent ear infections in children. Xylitol can be found in chewing gums or lozenges, and itâs naturally found in fruit and vegetable fibers. Many studies have shown success in preventing ear infections using xylitol.
There are also several options you can take to avoid ear infections for yourself or your child. These include:
How To Spot An Ear Infection
Kids under age two are unable to simply say, My ear is killing me, making a baby ear infection difficult to detect. Jacobson says to look out for fever, especially if preceded by a cold, as well as crying, clinginess, loss of appetite and irritability. Children with an ear infection often wont sleep well, either, as pressure in the middle ear on the eustachian tubes increases when theyre lying down. And if you see fluid or pus draining from your childs ear, its a sure sign of infection. You may also notice your child pulling on or rubbing their ear.
Recommended Reading: How Does Hearing Loss Affect Your Life
Check If It’s An Ear Infection
The symptoms of an ear infection usually start quickly and include:
- discharge running out of the ear
- a feeling of pressure or fullness inside the ear
- itching and irritation in and around the ear
- scaly skin in and around the ear
Young children and babies with an ear infection may also:
- rub or pull their ear
- not react to some sounds
- be irritable or restless
- be off their food
- keep losing their balance
Most ear infections clear up within 3 days, although sometimes symptoms can last up to a week.
If you, or your child, have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.
|Inner ear infection||Middle ear infection||Outer ear infection|
|Can affect both children and adults||Usually affects children||Usually affects adults aged 45 to 75|
|Caused by viral or bacterial infections||Caused by viruses like colds and flu||Caused by something irritating the ear canal, such as eczema, water or wearing earplugs|
|Affects parts of the inner ear like the labyrinth and vestibular system, and can lead to labyrinthitis||Affects the eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of the nose||Affects the ear canal|
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 .
Don’t Miss: How To Soothe Pain From Ear Infection
Why Might My Toddler Have Chronic Ear Infections
No one knows exactly why one child gets more ear infections than another or why one childs ear infections may linger but the following factors can raise the risk.
- Day care. Kids in day care are exposed to more germs and bugs than kids who dont go to day care. Vaccinate your child against the flu. Make sure your child gets the influenza, or flu, vaccine every year.
- Living with a smoker. Research shows children who are around smoke have greater incidences of ear infections. High levels of pollution can also increase the risk of ear infections.
- Family history of ear infections.
- Allergies. They can cause the upper airways and eustachian tubes to become inflamed or irritated.
- Siblings. Having one or more siblings means more germs brought into the household.
- Living in areas with long winters. Kids in these regions often get more upper-respiratory infections, which usually precede ear infections.
- Gender. Boys tend to get more ear infections than girls, though experts dont know the reason.
- Age. Children younger than 18 months are more prone to ear infections than older kids because babies and young toddlers immune systems are less developed and their eustachian tubes are smaller.
- Other underlying health problems. They may compromise a childs immunity and make him more susceptible to ear infections.
- Premature birth. Children who were born prematurely tend to have more ear infections than other kids.
How Is An Ear Infection Treated
- If a child doesnt have too much discomfort or a high fever, the doctor will likely wait 24 to 48 hours to see if the ear infection gets better on its own. If the child does not improve or gets worse, contact the doctor again.
- You childs doctor will prescribe antibiotics if:
- your child is moderately to severely ill with a high fever ,
- your child has severe pain,
- the condition has not improved for 48 hours, or
- the ear canal has new fluid.
For an uncomplicated ear infection, children between 6 months and 2 years usually take an antibiotic for 10 days. Children over 2 years of age will take an antibiotic for 5 days.
The doctor might suggest acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce the childs pain. Only give ibuprofen if your child is drinking reasonably well. Do not give ibuprofen to babies under 6 months old without first talking to your doctor.
Do not give over-the-counter medications to babies and children under 6 years without first talking to your doctor. The only exceptions are medications used to treat fever, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
Children usually feel better within 1 day of starting an antibiotic, but make sure to finish it. Your doctor might want to see your child again to be sure the infection has cleared up completely. Fluid can remain in the middle ear without inflammation for a few weeks.
Don’t Miss: Does High Frequency Hearing Loss Get Worse
Ear Infections In Babies What Is It And What To Do
Dear Dr. Mo: Following up on your post on parenting, I would like you to tell me more on ear infections in babies how to recognize them and what could bedone to mitigate such a difficult state for both a baby and her parents?
Dear reader: Ear infections are relatively common in babies and small children, especially in those who start their daycare early on these are a must-have experience of any parenting adventure.
They can have it several times a year, even up to 6, 7 and 8 etc. Although, if its that often, then we say these infections are recurring and a closer medical inspection and surveillance is needed with more aggressive therapy sometimes even a small surgical intervention but more on this nuisance later.
The most common and unavoidable scenario is that you notice that your baby has a runny nose shes somewhat congested, sneezes, coughs a bit maybe but is otherwise fine. A couple days later, suddenly, shes burning up with fever, her cheeks are red, she may or may not tug on her ear and shes visibly agitated her appetite is reduced to basically just milk and even that may be difficult as sucking action could aggravate the pain in the ear shes most likely having what we call an Acute Ottitis Media a sudden onset of middle ear infection.
As not all babies are alike, some may become more quiet than usual, responding to decreased auditory stimulation.
How an ear infection happens?
How can you treat your babys ear infection?
A few words on prevention
Symptoms Of Baby Ear Infections
Many parents will notice their baby tugging on their ear or simply acting fussy and assume that they have an ear infection.
However, while ear tugging and fussiness are sometimes signs of ear infections, they can also be the signs of teething, or just general crankiness.
Lets look at all the possible signs of baby ear infections, and how to know whether its time to contact your pediatrician.
Recommended Reading: Where Is Ear Wax Secreted From
Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your childs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Treatment for an Ear Infection
Yellowish Or Whitish Fluid From The Ear
With some infections, you will notice that there is a liquid discharge from the ear. The fluid tends to be yellow or white in color. This is a sure sign of an infection. It also means that your child has a ruptured eardrum, but do not panic, as the ear drum will repair itself once the infection has been taken care of.
Also Check: Can You Pass A Hearing Test With Tinnitus
Baby Ear Infection: Causes Symptoms Treatment
Your baby has been battling a cold. Now theyre tugging at their ears and acting fussy. Last night they didnt sleep so well, either. Of course, they cant tell you what is wrong, but you cant help thinking they might have an ear infection. Could it be true? If so, how serious are ear infections in babies? And what should you do next?
The good news is that ear infections are very common among children under the age of two, and they are also generally very treatable.
Lets take a look at how ear infections affect babies, what causes them, what symptoms to look for, when you should take your baby to the doctor, how to prevent them in the first placeand most importantly, what can be done so that your little one feels better.
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.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Ringing In My Ears
What Causes Baby Ear Infections And How To Treat The Pain
Your little one cant tell you his ear is aching. Here are the ear infection symptoms to watch out for and how to help soothe your baby’s pain.
Any adult who has had an ear infection knows how painful it can beall the more reason why it hurts to see your baby with one. Unfortunately, baby ear infections are extremely common. Most kidsup to of 80 percentwill have one by age four, says Sheila Jacobson, a paediatrician at Clairhurst Pediatrics and part-time staff paediatrician at Torontos The Hospital for Sick Children.