Your baby can develop an ear infection when bacteria or viruses trap fluid behind their eardrum. Babies and toddlers are very prone to ear infections because their Eustachian tubes (which drain fluid from the ears) are shorter, narrower, and almost horizontal, and their immune systems are not fully developed.
Pay attention to the signs of an ear infection and take your baby to the doctor as soon as possible to have it checked out. The doctor will be able to diagnose an ear infection just by looking in your baby’s ear.
Signs of an Ear Infection in Babies
Ear infections almost always cause pain and discomfort. Since babies are not able to articulate what they are feeling, they usually communicate this through their behavior.
Signs your baby may have an ear infection include:
- Frequent crying and irritability, especially when lying down
- Tugging or pulling on the ear
- Trouble feeding; expressing hunger but stopping as soon as feeding starts
- Sleep issues; restlessness and keeping awake all night
- Difficulty responding to auditory cues
- Foul-smelling ear drainage that is the color of yellow, green, or white
- Fever or temperature of 100°F (37.8°C)
It is important to seek medical care if your child is showing signs of ear infection. Severe ear infections can cause complications. They can lead to a ruptured eardrum, hearing loss, speech development issues, and widespread infection.
Some ear infections can go away on their own. If your baby is over six months old, isn’t in severe pain, and has not developed a fever, the doctor may suggest observation and not treat it with antibiotics. Babies with ear infections who are under six months old are always treated with antibiotics. The usual course of antibiotics is 10 days. In addition to antibiotics, the doctor may recommend over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers to help make the child more comfortable.
Babies and toddlers can have recurring ear infections, which are defined as having ear infections more than one or two times a year. To resolve this, the doctor may recommend ear tube surgery, which involves inserting small tubes in the eardrums. Remember that babies and toddlers have shorter eustachian tubes which can make fluid drainage difficult. The doctor will make a small hole in the eardrum and insert a tube to aid fluid drainage.
The tubes will fall out on their own, usually in a year. While ear tube surgery does not guarantee that an ear infection won’t happen in the future, it will reduce the frequency and provide comfort to your child.
Pediatric Ear Infection Treatment Near Me in Georgetown, TX
At Georgetown ENT, we treat ear infections in patients of all ages. Our treatments can help prevent pain and build-up of pressure as well as complications that can result from ear infections. If you want your baby to receive expert, gentle, and compassionate treatment, entrust our ENT doctors with their care. To schedule an appointment, call Georgetown ENT at (512) 869-0604, or use our appointment request form. We look forward to helping your child have good ear health!