Children get ear infections far more often than adults. In fact, one in five children will experience an ear infection by the age of 3. The reason for this is that a child’s body and immune system aren’t yet fully developed.
If your child is complaining of ear pain or having trouble hearing, make an appointment to see your pediatrician. The doctor will examine your child’s ear in order to make a diagnosis. Don’t take a chance with an ear infection – letting an infection fester could lead to more serious issues.
Signs of an Ear Infection
When a child pulls on an ear, it could indicate an ear infection. This is particularly true for children who are too young to talk and therefore are unable to appropriately communicate that they feel pain, have an earache, or are experiencing other symptoms that could indicate an ear infection.
Your child’s ear may also take on a reddish tint and feel warm to the touch.
Fever and inflammation typically accompany an ear infection. Each are signs that the body is attempting to fight an infection.
Your child may exhibit signs that they are having difficulty hearing or problems with their balance.
What Your Pediatrician Will Look For
If your child is showing signs of an ear infection, the Children’s Health Care team of professionals can quickly and efficiently diagnose and treat the condition. Our pediatricians specialize in patient education, too – so parents will leave the doctor’s office armed with the information needed to prevent future ear infections.
Your doctor will first assess any signs and symptoms your child is experiencing, along with a review of his or her health history.
Often, a pediatrician may be able to detect an ear infection just by looking in a child’s ear, using an otoscope. This tool allows your doctor to view the ear canal and eardrum (tympanic membrane). A special type of otoscope can detect fluid in the middle ear – the most common type of ear infection in children. The device uses pneumatic pressure to blow air into the ear canal and measure the responsiveness of the eardrum. If the eardrum doesn’t move in response, it may indicate there is a buildup of fluid behind it, in the middle ear.
Treatments for Ear Infections
Antibiotics are often used to treat an ear infection. Doctors tend to be cautious when it comes to prescribing antibiotics and so may only prescribe these drugs if they’re sure they’re dealing with a bacterial infection.
Antibiotics are most effective when the full course is taken. Don’t stop giving your child antibiotics if he or she begins to feel better – make sure to finish the full course prescribed by your doctor.
Following your child’s visit to the pediatrician and the start of antibiotics, your child should start feeling better in a few days. If you don’t see improvement after a few days, call the doctor in case your child is resistant to the antibiotic used and a different type may need to be ordered.
The pediatricians at Children’s Health Care diagnose and treat ear infections in children of all ages, from birth through adolescence. For more information or to schedule an appointment for your child, call (978) 465-7121 or (978) 388-9880 in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Or call (978) 373-6557 to reach our Haverhill office.