Parenting can certainly bring its fair share of challenges, and for anyone who has young children, visits to the doctor can often seem to be a struggle. Each year, tens of millions of kids contract with ear infections, and many times they occur so regularly that parents get on a first-name basis with the office staff.
Diagnosing an ear infection can be challenging at times, especially for younger children who can’t verbally communicate what they’re feeling. Instead of trying to guess what might be wrong, it’s helpful to know what some of the more common signs of an ear infection involve and how they can be treated.
Symptoms in Young Children
You know your little one is in pain, but you don’t know why; it’s a common occurrence for parents everywhere. If you have a suspicion that an ear infection might be to blame, look for some of these symptoms to give you a better idea of what’s going on:
- Irritability and crying
- Trouble sleeping
- Inability to hear clearly
- Pulling on or rubbing the ear
- A fever of 100°F or higher
- Loss of appetite
- Fluid draining from ears
Remember, it can be harder to tell what the cause of discomfort might be when your child can’t talk yet, and some of these symptoms could be related to something other than an ear infection. Many times, a child will be teething, and it is mistaken for an ear infection, so always be sure to visit your pediatrician if you are in doubt.
When your child is old enough to articulate exactly what he is feeling, it can help to pinpoint where the pain is coming from. In addition to the symptoms listed above, children, teens, and adults may also experience the following:
- Headache or dizziness
- Loss of balance
- Nausea or vomiting
- A sense of fullness in the ear
- Ear pain that gets worse when lying down
Ear Infection Treatment
When a child is sick, parents are usually quick to hone in on their symptoms and keep a close eye on their health. Many physicians opt for a wait-and-see approach and would ask that you monitor your child for at least 24 hours before visiting the office. The fact of the matter is that most parents have already done so, and their call to the doctor typically results in scheduling an appointment as soon as possible.
Your child’s pediatrician will use an otoscope to visually examine the inside of the ear and can easily determine if an infection is present. In most instances, if there is an infection present, an antibiotic will be prescribed to clear it up. It’s important to ensure your child finishes the complete round of antibiotics even after their symptoms subside.
Remember, an ear infection can indicate a more serious condition like an issue with the tonsils or adenoids, so it’s best to visit your family doctor for treatment as soon as you start to notice any symptoms.