How Can I Know If My Child Has an Ear Infection?

Did you know? Ear infections are one of the leading reasons parents take their young children to the doctor.

Although ear infections are quite common among children, that doesn’t make them any less important to deal with promptly! Read on as our team at AFC Urgent Care Fountain City shares some helpful info on ear infections among children.

What Is an Ear Infection?

The commonly used term “ear infection” is known medically as “acute otitis media,” or a sudden infection in the middle ear, which is the space behind the eardrum.

In many cases, ear infections clear up on their own, but if the ear infection has worsened or not improved, your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic to get rid of the infection. In children younger than the age of 2, an antibiotic is usually needed for ear infections. We’ve listed some common symptoms of ear infections among children below.

Common Symptoms of Ear Infections Among Children

  • Ear pain, especially when lying down
  • Tugging or pulling at an ear
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Crying more than usual
  • Fussiness
  • Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
  • Loss of balance
  • Fever of 100 F or higher
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite

What Causes Ear Infections?

Bacteria or viruses are usually the cause, and sometimes a common cold is followed by an ear infection. The infection causes inflammation and swelling of the Eustachian tube, which is a narrow tube that runs from the middle ear to high in the back of the throat, behind the nasal passages.

When an infection occurs, the tube narrows and fluid builds behind the eardrum, causing pressure and pain. Children have shorter and narrower Eustachian tubes than adults. Also, their tubes are more horizontal, so it’s easier for them to get blocked.

Common Treatments of Ear Infections

  • Doctor-prescribed antibiotics
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Over-the-counter or prescription ear drops

If you believe your child has an ear infection, don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Fountain City to get the treatment your little one needs!