When our little ones are in their early years, they are susceptible to all sorts of illnesses that can cause many sleepless nights for parent and baby alike. The good news is that many of these conditions are likely to only result in some discomfort and can be easily treated at home without the need for any visits to the clinic.
One of the most common childhood illnesses is ear infections, which can vary in severity and will need prompt treatment to relieve the symptoms as soon as possible. Not a day goes by in the US when a pediatrician doesn’t diagnose a young child with an ear infection. So, if you notice that your little one is not themselves, here are some signs of an ear infection which will indicate a visit to your doctor is necessary.
What Causes Ear Infections?
Ear infections are almost as common as the cold in young children, and your doctor will be able to diagnose this problem quickly. Young children are particularly vulnerable to ear infections, as their eustachian tubes are not fully formed, making it easier for bacteria and germs to get in. Also, kids tend to suffer more from colds which often lead to ear infections.
Either bacteria or viruses can cause these infections, and they commonly occur as a result of blocked sinuses or a cold. With any of these issues, fluid can build up behind the eardrum, and if it doesn’t correctly drain, then the fluid can become infected.
If your child is already speaking, then they may tell you that their ear hurts, but in the case of babies, some physical signs will suggest that they have an ear infection. The first thing you might notice is that your baby is rubbing or pulling on their ear, but you might also notice the following:
- irritability or restlessness
- loss of appetite
- loss of balance
If the symptoms are not too severe, then you should be able to monitor and treat the condition at home. However, if the symptoms persist or your child is being sick or has a high temperature, then contact your doctor immediately.
It is essential to determine whether the ear infection was caused by a virus or bacteria before going ahead with a course of antibiotics. Therefore, if your child is feeling a little under the weather and is complaining about their ears, first monitor the situation and take note of their symptoms.
At this point, you can call your doctor to see if they think you need to bring them in for a checkup. Regardless, conservative methods like over-the-counter painkillers and warm compresses will be the first course of treatment.
If your doctor decides to do a checkup, they will look inside the ear with a special device called an otoscope, do some simple tests to see which part of the ear is infected, and decide whether a course of antibiotics is necessary.
Need More Information?
If your kid is under the weather, don’t hesitate to contact your clinic for advice, as they will be able to go through your child’s symptoms and point you in the right direction.