Your child is in pain and tugging on an ear. We all know that it never happens at a good time. There is always some hesitation about whether to seek treatment for an ear infection. Knowing what to look for can help save you time and prevent worry when deciding to go to the doctor for treatment.
An ear infection can be a viral or bacterial. It involves fluid accumulating around the eardrum in the middle ear and painful inflammation. If your child has a cold and a stuffy nose, there is a greater chance of developing an ear infection from the buildup of fluid. Ear infections often clear up on their own, but when should you play it safe and see a pediatrician?
Because children (especially infants) can’t always explain what’s going on, here are 10 symptoms of a pediatric ear infection:
- Ear pain that worsens when lying down
- Acting irritable and moody
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Difficulty maintaining balance
- Hearing difficulty
- Lack of appetite
- Fluid leaking out of the ear
What About Tugging on the Ear?
Babies don’t have an accurate sense of where pain comes from. If they pull or tug on their ears, it can actually be due to teething pain. If the child hasn’t had a cold, the chances of an ear infection are very slim.
Why Do Babies and Toddlers Get More Ear Infections?
The reason that young children seem to develop ear infections more often than adults is related to anatomy. It’s true that small children may get colds more often, especially if they are in a day care, but the tubes that connect the middle ear with the back of the nasal cavity are actually angled differently in the very young. In babies and toddlers, the eustachian tubes that lead to the middle ear are angled like a stairway for germs. As children grow, the eustachian tubes become oriented vertically, making it harder for bacteria to end up in the middle ear.
How Do Doctors Treat Pediatric Ear Infections?
Your pediatrician will likely recommend ibuprofen and acetaminophen for pain. This will help your child to rest more easily and be in better spirits. The bacterial infection is addressed with antibiotics. The first prescription doctors will normally issue is amoxicillin. You should notice an improvement after a day or so. If your child’s fever keeps coming back and he or she is still in pain, you may need a stronger antibiotic. Amoxicillin does not work for every infection but is still the best starting point. Using stronger antibiotics than necessary can contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The good news is that help is available when your child needs it. Tots ‘N’ Teens Pediatric Urgent Care is open 7 days a week in San Antonio, Texas. If your child has an ear infection, you can come in for care without an appointment. We send all records of your visit to your regular pediatrician with no extra steps. Call (210) 267-5411 or walk in for care today. We see patients from birth to 18 years old.