How many nights have you spent trying to ease your child’s pain from an earache? How many work days have you missed for the same reason?
An ear infection is one of the most frequent reasons parents take a child to see a doctor. The severity of ear infection varies from children to children.
When should you suspect an ear infection?
A parent must infer an ear infection when a child becomes ill with fever is irritable and usually complains of pain in the ear. Many children who develop ear infections will first have colds. However, ear pain can be caused by other problems, such as a sore throat, without an ear infection.
Other than these, the Nemours Foundation has pointed out some common warning signs, like:
1. Uneasiness in the ear especially by touching or pulling.
2. Pain while lying down, chewing or sucking, which may lead to reduced appetite or difficulty sleeping.
3. Fluid draining from the ear.
4. Hearing problem.
Are ear infections contagious?
No, the bacteria inside the ear causing the infection are not contagious. The cold virus that can lead to an ear infection is contagious. Oftentimes, if the ear infection occurs a week after the cold begins, the child is no longer contagious.
Contact your pediatrician if your child has any symptoms of an ear infection. Do not attempt to heal your child on your own with over-the-counter medications.
In addition to an antibiotic, your doctor may recommend a non-aspirin medication like acetaminophen or ear drops to alleviate pain. Don’t give your child aspirin, which has been linked with Reye syndrome, a disease that affects the liver and brain.
For older kids, a pediatrician might suggest soothing pain by putting warm compresses against the ear or lessening pressure on the middle ear by keeping a child sitting up as much as possible.
When an ear infection starts clearing up, as a rule within two to three days of starting treatment, it’s normal for a child to have a sense of fullness or popping the ears.
Children can return to school or day care once they feel better as long as there is someone there to give them their medication properly. Medicines should be clearly labeled with your child’s name and the proper dosage, and they should be kept separate from other items.