Many children experience ear infections at some point early on in their youth. In fact, ear infections are one of the most common conditions that pediatricians treat young children for.
Since ear infections are not always easily detectable to the human eye, it is important for you to know what the symptoms are and when you should have your little one taken to a professional for treatment.
Let’s take a look at the most common signs of an ear infection and how to follow up with care.
If your child is in need of fast medical care, contact Minis Pediatric Walk-In Clinic today — 708-424-0909
What Causes Ear Pain?
Earaches and ear pain are common in young children. Often caused by fluid behind the eardrum, children are at high risk of developing an ear infection after recovering from an upper respiratory infection (cold, sore throats). Ear pain can also be caused by teething, swimmer’s ear, or blocked Eustachian tubes (when pressure in the ear is imbalanced). Although these are the most common signs, there can be other causes such as tight headwear, grinding teeth, piercings, sleeping on hard surfaces, or getting things stuck in the ear.
Signs and Symptoms that Indicate Ear Infection
An ear infection is almost always accompanied by a fever in younger children. A fever may develop if your child is recovering from a cough or cold. If seen by a doctor, one of the first questions they will ask is if your child had an infection or cold. If so, a doctor will be able to prescribe medication and methods of treatment right away.
Some signs of irritability include:
- Fussiness or crying
If your child is restless because of a possible ear infection, be patient with your child and speak to them slowly and as clearly as possible. This can help if there is fluid stuck in the middle eardrum of your little one. As your child heals, it is important that you keep noise to a minimum and speak softly and slowly.
Ear pain from an ear infection is usually achy and feels like the ears are full. Ear infections rarely ever cause sharp pains. Ear pain can also cause pressure, tightness, and headaches. Because of the ear pain, your child may not be able to hear as well as usual. This is normal and, if diagnosed with an ear infection, the pain should resolve, and hearing should go back to normal within 2-3 days.
Tugging at Ear
It can be difficult to know whether your child has an ear infection if they are younger or if they are an infant, but one of the major signs to look out for is tugging at the ear. If your baby has an ear infection, they will most likely communicate it so by tugging or pulling at the ear when pain arises. The pain caused by the ear may lead to your child not wanting to eat as much as they normally do.
Inability to Sleep
Every parent knows their child and knows how often they wake up as infants. If your infant or child is waking up more frequently or cannot stay asleep, this is another major sign of an ear infection.
To help ease your little one of pain and to sleep through the night, you can give them ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Children’s Tylenol or Children’s Motrin). It is important to keep in mind that it can take several hours for the medication to begin relieving your child of pain.
At-Home Treatment You Can Do
Keep your children at home to get as much rest as possible. As we mentioned earlier, it usually takes anywhere from 2-3 days for an ear infection to clear up. You can give your child a warm cloth and press it against their ear when aches and pain arise. You can also use ear drops or decongestants to relieve pressure. Make sure that your child is lying on the opposite side of the affected ear to prevent irritability and pain.
When You Should Call a Doctor
For children under six months, no matter how mild or severe symptoms are, you should have your child checked. For children over six months, if symptoms are mild, you can try over-the-counter methods first.
For children over six months experiencing severe symptoms, it is recommended to have them seen by a doctor as soon as possible. Speak to your child’s doctor about symptoms that your little one has been experiencing and the duration of symptoms.
Your Little One is In the Right Hands at Minis Pediatric Walk-In Clinic
Our clinic is one of Oak Lawn’s highly respected and favored pediatric clinics. You can call ahead to make an appointment or walk into our clinic and we will have your child seen right away!
To learn more about our pediatric care services, do not hesitate to contact us today at (708) 424-0909.