Ear infections are more common than you think, especially in children, and it is also common for us to ignore its symptoms. It has been found that many children under the age of three get an ear infection at least once. You must be aware of the causes, symptoms, and treatments for ear infection in children. So, let’s find out everything about ear infection in this article.
Causes of Ear Infection in Children
An ear infection is a bacterial infection of the ear, particularly of the middle ear. Your middle ear is a fluid-filled area located behind the eardrum that consists of the vibrating bones necessary to convert external sound into significant signals for the brain. This infection causes irritation or tenderness and the up-turn of fluid within the internal ear cavities.
Ear infections are sometimes severely painful because the inflammation and build-up of fluids cause pressure on the eardrum. Children can not explain this kind of pain and start crying. Eustachian tubes of young children are smaller and more horizontal than in older children and adults. This makes the fluid more likely to collect in the tubes rather than drain, increasing the chances of an ear infection.
Symptoms Of Ear Infection
The symptoms of ear infection in children include the following:
- Irritation and pulling the ear
- Having Ear pain, especially when lying down
- Sleeping difficulty
- Crying more than usual or being fussy
- Lack of balance
- Difficulty hearing
- High fever
- Lack of appetite
- Redness around-ear due to pulling
Types Of Ear Infections
Ear infections are generally divided into the three categories listed below:
Middle ear infections
In this type of ear infection, the middle part of the ear is infected. Fluid accumulates behind the eardrum, and it causes the drum to expand, leading to excruciating discomfort. Sometimes the eardrum can swell so much that it tears. This is known as a burst eardrum, and a thick yellow fluid will flow out the ear. When this happens, your child might feel better right away because the swelling has stopped. A ruptured eardrum usually heals on its own. Children with middle ear infections frequently develop fevers; in some cases, fever is the only indication of a middle ear infection.
Outer Ear Infections
There may be ear discharge, or your kid may complain of a sense of fluid in their ear if they have an outer ear infection. Their ear will possibly become red and inflamed in this case. And the redness may extend past the ear. Your kid can be fussy or will cry due to extreme irritation and might get a fever as well.
The glue ear is not an infection. However, it often occurs after one or more middle ear infections. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of glue ear:
- Hearing issues
- ear pressure or pain
- irritation or difficulty sleeping
- balance issues
Risk Factors of Ear infection in Children
Some variables that increase the likelihood of getting an ear infection include:
- High altitude
- Climate changes
- Exposure to cigarette smoke
- Using a pacifier
- Previously having an ear infection
Some Facts About Ear Infections
Below are some facts about ear infections in children:
- Young boys typically suffer more from an ear infection as compared to girls.
- Most ear infections improve & heal without intervention.
- Vaccinating your child as a preventive measure for flu can help protect them from any sort of ear infection.
- Prolonged and repeated cases of ear infection could occur in children with antibiotic resistance.
- Some recent studies have proved that ear infections may have a genetic component.
- Secondhand smoke increases the risk of ear infections.
- People of certain ethnicities have specific levels of susceptibility to ear infections.
Treatment for Ear Infection in Children
Usually, ear infections can be improved by themselves within three days. If not, the only medication needed is painkillers. Sometimes if your child has prolonged pain and is relentless, the doctors may recommend antibiotics. Moreover, babies below six months need antibiotic treatment to stop the infection from spreading. But, antibiotics are not generally prescribed for children older than 2. The excessive use of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance. It means that severe infections will be more difficult to treat or might not heal quickly.
When to Consult a Doctor?
If your child has been complaining of having ear pain that is not going away. Then, it is best to take them to a doctor. An ENT specialist can provide treatment for ear infection in children.
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