What are Ear Infections?
Middle ear infections (or otitis media) are a common illness in young children. They usually come along with or shortly after a cold.
Ear Infection Symptoms
Common symptoms of ear infections include:
- Ear pain
- Poor feeding
- Fussiness when lying down
Ear Infection Treatment
The most recent evidence shows that most ear infections are, in fact, viral. However, antibiotics are typically prescribed for the risk of bacterial infections. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and tell you to wait 48 hours to see if the fever resolves on its own. Controlling pain and fever can keep a child comfortable.
Ear Infection FAQs
Why do children get so many ear infections?
The anatomy of young children’s ears (and the tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat) make them more prone to having ears get “stopped up,” which then leads to the ear infection.
When should they get tubes?
The recommendations are for a minimum of 3 ear infections in 6 months or 4 in a year, or if the child has speech delays or other complications. While getting ear tubes is a fairly minor procedure, there are risks. Your doctor will help you decide if this is the right decision for your child.
My child is pulling at their ear. Does this mean they have an ear infection?
Babies and toddlers pull at their ears for lots of reasons. Sometimes they have wax in their ear, or, in little babies, they just discovered their ears and want to play with them! If they seem to be in pain or are running fever, an infection is certainly a possibility.