Every parent has been there. Your child is cranky, won’t go to bed and it seems like everything you do won’t solve the discomfort. You try everything. You think, “Well maybe they are hungry or tired.”
Many times your child’s ear infection is the root of other issues. Luckily there are obvious signs that your child may have an ear infection, and once you are aware of them they will stick out like a sore thumb.
What is an ear infection?
An ear infection is when the middle ear becomes enflamed and irritated causing some type of discomfort. There are generally two types of ear infections: one where the middle ear is simply irritated and the other is when there is fluid in the middle ear. Usually, when your child has fluid in their ear it is accompanied by a flu or cold.
Almost all children have some sort of ear infection by one year old, and about 20 percent of children will have an ear infection three or more times with ear fluid being more common in children under two years old.
I think my child may have an ear infection. What are the signs?
There are many signs to look for that signal an ear infection, such as:
• Drainage from the ear
• Resistance to sleep
• Your child pulls on their ear
• Your child tells you their ear hurts
Many times these symptoms will come in bunches, however, in some occasions, your child will have none of these symptoms. In those cases, your child will usually have a cold that makes the ear infection go unnoticed. The best way to diagnose these ear infections with no symptoms is through your child’s pediatrician.
My child has been diagnosed with an ear infection……Now what?
In terms of treatment for ear infections there are a few options. Usually, your child’s pediatrician will prescribe some type of antibiotic and give instructions to administer that medicine until it is gone. Typically, the ear pain and irritation should decrease within two days. When there is fluid in the middle ear your pediatrician will either have you wait for the fluid to clear up on its own, provide a medicine to reduce the fluid or recommend that your child see an otolaryngologist for further examination.
When you child goes to be examined by an otolaryngologist, it may be determined that he or she will need to have a tube put into their ear to help with the current and future ear infections. This is a very routine surgery and one of the most common in America.
Your child’s ears are a vital part to their development and progression in learning. It is important that ear infections are detected early, and if they happen frequently, it is very important that an otolaryngologist be consulted regarding ear tube surgery.
For more information on pediatric ear infections, ear tube surgery or to schedule an appointment with a Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. (CEENTA) otolaryngologist call 704.295.3000 or 800.654.3368.
American Academy of Otolaryngology – Ear Tubes
American Academy of Otolaryngology – Hearing Loss and Ear Infection
American Academy of Pediatrics