No matter what you do to help keep your child healthy, he or she may be at risk for a common childhood ailment: ear infections. The most common cause of earaches, this type of infection may occur several times throughout childhood. Prompt medical attention is strongly advised, particularly if your child is under six months of age. Here are some tips for spotting this condition in your child.
Be On the Lookout Following An Illness
If your child has recently suffered from an upper respiratory infection, be watchful for any symptoms of an earache. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, ear infections are typically caused by bacteria and may commonly follow a cold or a sore throat. Infected fluid may linger behind the eardrum following an illness, causing inflammation that may lead to severe pain and discomfort.
Ear Infection Symptoms
Very young children are still building their immune symptoms, which is why they may be more susceptible to complications following a cold or other respiratory illness. Additionally, the channels between the ear and throat that drain fluids in adults are more horizontal in children, which can lead to fluid build-up. The chances are that your child’s first upper respiratory infection and subsequent complications will occur before they are old enough to speak. Thankfully, children may use a variety of nonverbal cues to demonstrate that they are not feeling feel. These can include:
- Ear drainage
- Trouble hearing
- Tugging on one or both ears
- Trouble with balance
- Poor appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
In young children, you should also be on the lookout for vomiting or diarrhea. However, it is important to note that your child may not exhibit one or more of these symptoms. Watch for any changes in behavior, including fussiness, being clingy, or crying more than usual. These behaviors may indicate a possible illness or infection.
When to Seek Medical Help
Although this condition is common in children, it should not be left entirely untreated. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics to prevent the spread of infection in young babies. Antibiotics also may be recommended if your older baby or toddler is experiencing severe symptoms or is not better within two to three days. Mild infections should be monitored closely at home. Children’s pain medicine may help with pain, fever and inflammation, while a warm (not hot) heat pack can help soothe the area.
Pediatric Urgent Care
If you or your child is experiencing symptoms of an ear infection, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. You should also consider seeking medical advice before administering over-the-counter medicine or medicated ear drops to young children. When your child becomes ill, choosing the right medical provider is important; eMedical Urgent Care makes it easy to get the help you need, from pediatric health services to treating sinus infections in adults. Call to learn more about our services in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, (908) 464-6700, and Middletown, New Jersey, (732) 957-0707.