Ear infections are generally caused by inflammation and can lead to severe pain and discomfort in kids. They’re extremely common, and one study showed that five in six children will experience an ear infection before they turn three. To learn more about how to recognize an infection in your child and when to call your primary care physician, take a look at the overview below.
Common Ear Infection Symptoms
If your child isn’t old enough to communicate about what’s hurting, keep an eye out for telltale ear infection symptoms. Frequent irritability paired with pulling or fussing with the ear, as well as dizziness and wobbliness, are key signs. Children can also experience trouble sleeping, fever, loss of appetite, and fluid draining from the ear.
When to Call the Doctor
If your baby is younger than six months, call your primary care physician at the first sign of an infection, as they are too young for household remedies. While a doctor may suggest over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce pain for older kids, your child needs to be drinking a lot of water to take these medications safely.
Since children under six months may be learning how to consume liquid properly, talk to your doctor before administering these pills. Additionally, call a medical professional if any of the common symptoms are paired with a fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, severe ear pain, or draining.
What You Can Do at Home
Observe your child’s initial symptoms so they don’t get worse. Also, provide child-formula pain relievers—if they’re old enough—to reduce discomfort. Give your child medication every six to eight hours as needed, but never more than four doses per day.
Check the recommended dosage and use the syringe, dropper, or cup that came with the product to distribute the proper amount; never use a generic measuring spoon or an instrument from a different medication, as this can lead to over- or under-dosing. Due to choking risks, chewables or tablets are not recommended for children younger than six years old.
Finally, place a damp washcloth over the ear. It can be warm or cold, depending on which is more soothing to your child. Leave it on for only 20 minutes at a time to ease the physical pain.
If your child is experiencing ear infection symptoms, contact the primary care physicians at HDR Healthcare Network. Offering pediatric medical care to patients throughout the Bronx, NY, this family medicine clinic provides treatment and support to residents of Upper Manhattan and the West Bronx. Call (929) 256-5005 or visit them online to learn more about their services.