The onset of cold weather is the beginning of many things: hot chocolate, snowmen with carrot noses and the anticipation of holiday gifts and parties. Along with these happy moments come some not-so-pleasant events like ear infections.
Ear infections are the second most common infection diagnosed in the United States and most children will have at least one ear infection by the time they are three-years old. Bacteria love warm, moist areas and the middle ear is the perfect place to set up shop.
Ear infections usually begin when infected fluid builds in the middle ear (behind the eardrum) which can happen after a cold or sore throat. Signs of a possible ear infection include: tugging on ears, pain in the ears, decreased hearing ability, fever and increased irritability. Pay particular attention if the child has a decreased appetite, begins to vomit or has diarrhea. Fluid or pus draining from the eardrum is a warning that may indicate that the eardrum has ruptured.
When South Valley Ear Nose & Throat physicians check the ears, they will look for a red and swollen eardrum which may bulge because of the buildup of fluid. A common treatment for ear infections is antibiotics and over-the-counter pain medicines to help with pain management and to reduce fever. It is important to take the entire course of prescribed antibiotics for the best outcome.
If left untreated, your child’s ear will continue to experience pain and will generally feel poor because the body is trying to fight the infection. Worse yet, prolonged ear infections may even cause hearing damage. If you suspect your child has an ear infection, it’s best to have it looked at by a physician right away.