Does My Child Have an Ear Infection?

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Ear infections are trying for both parent and child. As they occur most often in very young children, babies suffering from ear infections are cranky, cry often, sleep poorly and are generally miserable until the infection clears. Parents dealing with the infected baby are just as miserable due to lack of sleep and the frustration of trying to help a baby who can’t tell you what’s wrong.

Symptoms of Ear Infections

What makes ear infections particularly pesky to deal with is the lack of symptoms that can come with the infection. Some children show very obvious signs, but others simply become tearful and leave parents wondering why.

The following signs are often attributed to ear infections:

  • Pulling or rubbing at ears
  • Fever
  • Restless sleep
  • Night waking
  • Crying
  • Clinging behavior
  • Fussing when laying down, particularly on her back
  • Difficulty falling asleep or getting comfortable
  • Increased mucous from a cold or teething

As many parents quickly discover, these signs can also be symptoms of many other things, including the notorious teething. If your child begins to show one or more symptom, even if you’re aren’t able to rule out teething or tiredness as the culprit, you would do well to bring your child in to have a doctor take a look in her ears.

Treating the Ear Infection

There are degrees of infection and doctors often choose to treat the infections based on the degree. A very low level of fluid and infection in the ear might not be cause for antibiotics. Some prefer to let infections clear on their own if they are slight.

Ear infections are common in your children, so avoiding antibiotics when possible helps to keep children from building up immunity to them so the drugs are more helpful when truly needed. Speak to your doctor about the severity of an ear infection and the necessity of antibiotics.

In most cases, your child will be given a ten day round of antibiotics to clear up the infection. Your child will likely feel better after two or three days of treatment and you can use pain reliever and ear drops in the meantime to help reduce pain until the antibiotics have a chance to work.

Even though your child may look and seem much better after only a few days, continue the full cycle of antibiotics. Not treating for the full period may not kill the infection completely allowing it to come back stronger than before and possibly immune or not as responsive to the antibiotics you used to help your child previous. This level of infection is called a super-infection, and can be very tough to beat.

Reoccurring Ear Infections

Once a child has had an ear infection, he may be more likely to have reoccurring ear infections over the next few years. If a child has more than a handful of ear infections in a year, your doctor might speak to you about tubes in his ears to help drain the fluids that cause the repetitive infections.

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