If the baby is in distress, we tend to check for cold, fever, colic but often forget checking for an ear infection. It is very common in kids from 6 months to 3 years. The symptoms of ear infection are not visible easily and so we keep wondering about why the baby is continuously crying and uncomfortable.
An ear infection happens when you get infected fluid or pus behind the eardrum. It often results from another illness. The most common cause is cold, flu or allergy that causes congestion or swelling in nasal passage, throat and eustachian tubes (tubes that run from each middle ear to high in the back of the throat).
As their immunity is low, the virus or bacteria settle in the middle ear causing the ear infection. The germs travel through the throat and so it may be accompanied with fever and discharge from the ear.
Babies and toddlers are unable to express verbally as their communication skills are undeveloped. So mothers should watch out the below-mentioned symptoms to confirm ear infection in kids:
Ear pain is the main sign of middle ear infection. Babies keep rubbing and tugging their ears to alleviate the pain. It is the indication of pain in the ear. Other symptoms to check for are:
- Cry more than usual. Crying is due to a number of reasons, one of them being a pain in the ear. The child may be very fussy and irritable.
- Trouble eating and drinking as a change in ear pressure affect swallowing.
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Trouble sleeping as the fluid buildup creates pressure changes on lying down.
- Difficulty in hearing/ not responding to sounds due to discharge in the ear.
- Acting more irritable than usual.
- Loss of balance asthe center of balance is located in the inner ear. Pressure and fluid buildup from an infection in the ear may cause dizziness, unsteadiness or clumsiness.
If you see symptoms of ear infection, then you can try some home remedies like warm compressing to child ear’s to ease the pain and giving fluids to the baby (older than 6 months old) so that swallowing is encouraged and middle ear drains hence relieving the pain. But if you see the following things then you should call the doctor:
- Baby is younger than 6 months old.
- Has other medical problems or some medication is already being given.
- Yellow or white fluid coming out of the ear.
- Have rashes on the skin.
- There is swelling behind the ear.
- Baby is very sleepy.
- The child has a fever for more than 48 hours.
- The medication of fever is not showing any effect and the child still has a fever.
- Vomits over and over.
It is not always possible to prevent kids from falling sick or getting an infection. But there are a few things you can take care of to prevent your kids from getting an ear infection:
- Breastfeed. It increases the immunity of the baby. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from allergies and infections.
- Don’t use any external thing in the ear, even for cleaning it. Cotton swabs can also infect the ear canal.
- Always wash yours as well as the child’s hand before feeding (food) to the baby. Maintain good hygiene.
- Don’t smoke and also keep the baby/ child away from second-hand smoke. Exposure to smoke causes ear infections.
- Ensure that all vaccinations are given on time and also don’t avoid pneumococcal vaccination.
- Ensure your baby gets flu shot every year.
- Avoid bottle-feeding your baby when she is lying down. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle.
- Transition your baby from a bottle to a cup by 1 year of age.
- Don’t use a pacifier (soother) too often.