If your baby hasn’t had an ear infection yet, odds are they will soon since statistics tell us that 80% of children get at least one ear infection by the time they are three years old. So now might be the ideal time to be aware of what parents should know about ear infections in babies!
Otitis Media And Your Baby
Otitis media is the medical term for an ear infection. Specifically, it is an infection which occurs in the middle ear. Bacteria or a virus infects and traps fluid behind the eardrum or the middle ear causing swelling and pain. Ear infections usually begin after a child has a sore throat, a cold, or other respiratory illness.
Children are especially susceptible to ear infections due to their immature and underdeveloped anatomy. The tube which connects the middle ear to the baby’s nose and mouth is shorter, less rigid, and more horizontal compared to those who are older.
Babies also have an immune system that is not fully developed.
Another reason is related to fluid from their nose. It travels more easily to the middle ear and gets trapped there which causes an almost continuous upper respiratory problem.
A helpful note for parents: ear infections are NOT caused by water getting into your baby’s ear.
Symptoms Of Ear Infection In Babies
Babies cannot tell you what’s bothering them, so parents must observe any changes in behavior which would indicate an ear infection.
Typical signs of an ear infection in a baby include the following:
- Rubbing or tugging at ears
- No appetite or acting as if chewing causes pain
- Not sleeping well or reacting as if laying down causes pain
- Fever of 100 to 104
- Not responding to sounds
Most of the time ear infections clear up on their own, but if you notice any of the above symptoms, contact Elmwood Pediatric Group for an appointment and follow their recommendations.
Treatment depends on the severity of the infection, if it is a first time infection or a recurring one, and if the fluid remains in the ear for a period of time.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if it appears to be a bacterial infection.
Whatever is recommended by your pediatrician, follow those instructions carefully.
Contact Elmwood Pediatric Group at (585) 244-9720 if your baby is exhibiting the symptoms of an ear infection.