Don’t panic! Most children will experience an ear infection at some point in their lives. These FAQs about kids and ear infections will help guide your little one back to good health.
Q. What causes ear infections?
A. Our ears are home to eustachian tubes. Ideally, they should be empty, so air can flow through. Sometimes, though, fluid will enter the space. There, bacteria may gather, creating a nasty ear infection. To make it even worse, the fluid can also cause painful pressure to grow against the eardrum. This condition may also occur at the adenoids, which rest near the nose and throat.
Q. What experiences increase the odds of developing an ear infection?
A. Your child may experience an ear infection after swimming. Pool season has arrived—so keep an extra eye on your child’s ear health. Additionally, many children develop ear infections as a result of respiratory illnesses, sore throats, or the common cold. So, make sure you know the symptoms!
Q. What are the symptoms of an ear infection?
A. Your child may have an ear infection if he or she experiences the following symptoms:
- Pus at the site of the eardrum;
- Pressure in the ears;
- Worsened hearing;
- Irritability in behavior;
- Trouble balancing;
- Red eardrums;
- Difficulty sleeping;
- Discomfort or pain; and
Q. What can I do to help my child if I suspect he or she has an ear infection?
A. You should schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor or ENT specialists—like us. A warm compress, placed over the ear, can also alleviate a bit of the discomfort.
Q. Do all ear infections need treatment?
A. Actually, they don’t! In some cases, your child will recover just fine without antibiotics. Still, you should always take him or her to the physician to determine the best course of action. Even if they just recommend ibuprofen or acetaminophen, you can rest easy knowing you’ve taken care of your child.
Q. What constitutes a recurrent ear infection?
A. One is more than enough! Still, recurrent ear infections fall in a certain window: four or more within a year. Additionally, at least one or more of those ear infections must have taken place in the last six months.
Q. What can my doctor do about frequent ear infections?
A. It’s hard watching your child feel unwell—especially when his or her ear infections keep returning. Still, your doctor can help. He or she may choose to prescribe your little one long-term antibiotics. Or, your physician may suggest adenoid removal. Finally, he or she may talk to you about ear tubes.
Q. What are ear tubes?
A. If you’ve looked up FAQs about kids and ear infections, you’ve probably heard of ear tubes. Essentially, they help drain the fluid from your child’s ears. Put in while your child is under anesthesia, they tend to be a backup option, rather than a first choice. They will remain in your child’s ears for about a year. No need for removal—they will usually come out on their own. Still, make sure your doctor discusses them fully with you first to prevent complications.
Q. Should my child stay home from school if he or she has an ear infection?
A As long as your child isn’t also dealing with a contagious disease too, like the flu or bronchitis, he or she can go to school. Of course, if your worry is less about spreading the disease and more about easing your little one’s discomfort, he or she can also stay home. Being a kid is tough—but luckily, your child has you for a parent!
Q. If my child feels better, can he or she stop taking his or her antibiotics?
A. Many people believe that they can stop taking their antibiotics if they feel better. However, you should always finish your course of treatment. You never know whether or not the bacteria have officially died off—so do your part to get rid of them for good.
Even on a normal day, taking care of children comes with its fair share of stress and mess. We know it’s always worth it in the end, though. After all, we love our little ones! Hopefully, these FAQs about kids and ear infections can alleviate some of the worry. Not to mention, you can always visit Southern Head & Neck Surgery if you need help.