It is estimated that half of all children will get an ear infection by the time they turn one year old, but the problem is, how can an infant tell you when they are sick? Infant ear pain, though, can have distinct symptoms that you can look closely for to determine if it’s time for some home remedies or even a visit your nearest Urgent Care in Omaha or Bellevue, NE. As a general rule, our urgent care clinics can treat patients over six months old; for younger infants, it is better to be seen in a pediatrician’s office.
Infant Ear Pain Symptoms
There are many reasons a child may be suffering from ear pain, including an ear infection. An ear injury, itching, ringing, fluid, or ear wax can all make a child feel distressed about their ears.
- Fevers: While fevers commonly occur in the first 24-48 hours after the onset of a viral cold, fevers that last a few days into illness may be a sign there is an ear infection.
- Disrupted sleep: A baby who usually sleeps 4-6 hours at night but now is waking up every hour or two could indicate an ear infection.
- Irritability: Your little one might be acting very fussy and not wanting to eat as much.
- Ear pain: Older children may tell you they have ear pain. Older infants or toddlers may localize the pain to their ears and tug on or stick their fingers in their ears.
- Ear Drainage: A sure sign of an ear infection is fluid or pus draining out of a child’s ear. Although not all children experience it, this thick and yellow or bloody fluid is the result of a ruptured eardrum. Don’t be concerned about a ruptured eardrum; it will heal on its own in a few weeks.
- Difficulty Hearing: Fluid builds up and sits in the middle ear when a child has an ear infection, which may cause a temporary loss of hearing. For infants and toddlers who are unable to speak, they may be unresponsive to sounds. Older children may ask “what?” more frequently throughout the duration of their ear infection.
- Diarrhea, Vomiting, Reduced Appetite: The virus that causes the ear infection also affects the gastrointestinal tract, upsetting the stomach. Children may experience diarrhea, vomiting or reduced appetite while they are sick. Ear infections also make it difficult to chew and swallow because of the changes in pressure. If you notice a decrease in your child’s appetite, look for additional signs that may indicate they have an ear infection.
Infant Ear Pain & Ear Infection Treatments
Most ear infections go away without the use of antibiotics. Symptoms typically improve after a couple of days, with full recovery after one to two weeks. However, call your doctor if symptoms do not improve after a day or two. Your doctor will advise you on a treatment plan or prescribe an antibiotic to help heal the infection.
Preventing Ear Infections
Preventing ear infections can be tricky since they are often caused by hereditary factors.
To reduce the risk of an ear infection in adults and children:
- Good hand hygiene helps prevent the spread of germs that cause illness. It’s never too soon to start toddlers down the road of proper hand washing techniques. Teach kids to wash their hands for the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” or the “ABCs.”
- Avoiding secondhand smoke exposure is critical for minimizing childhood illness. If you smoke, quitting will not only improve your health but also your child’s.
- Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines have also been shown to reduce ear infections in children.
- If a mother chooses to and is able to, breastfeeding can help. Breastfed infants are less likely to have bacterial or viral infections, including ear infections.
- If you don’t already have one, go pick up a nasal aspirator, otherwise known as a “snot sucker.” When your child starts to develop nasal congestion, use this suction device along with some nasal saline spray to remove those boogers. Trust me, it looks gross but it works incredibly well!
- You can also run a humidifier in your child’s room to help improve the nasal congestion.
Is it Time to Stop in at your Nearest Urgent Care in Omaha & Bellevue, NE?
Again, we remind you that our urgent care clinics can treat patients over six months old; for younger infants, it is better to be seen in a pediatrician’s office. At the first sign of an ear infection, many physicians prefer to wait and see while treating symptoms, which can often be done at home. Infant Ear pain and infections are often not serious and may go away on their own, and it is hard to decipher between viral and bacterial ear infections.
However, there are some cases that will need further attention by a medical professional. If a child has a high fever, frequent or long-lasting infection, or has other underlying conditions they will need to be seen by a medical professional. Treatment is determined upon examination.
Urgent Care Omaha Walk-In Clinics and Bellevue, NE | Back to School Health Tips
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