Child having pain in his ears
An ear infection in children is quite common and four out of five children will have it early in their lives. This type of infection is caused by bacteria that inflames the middle ear and builds up fluid behind the eardrum. Ear infection in children often follows after a sore throat, upper respiratory infections, or cold.
Types and symptoms ear infection in children
There are three types of ear infections in children and each one has different symptoms or combinations.
Acute otitis media – AOM is the most common type of ear infection. This is often categorized as an ache instead of an infection. If this type of ear infection in children occurs, fever and pain in the ears can be felt.
Otitis media with effusion (OME) – This type of ear infection in children occurs when it has ran its course but still leaves some fluid trapped in the eardrum. Since there are no symptoms, paying a visit to the doctor to remove the fluid is a good idea .
Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME) – This type of ear infection in children occurs when the fluid is trapped behind the eardrum for quite a long time or comes back repeatedly. Children suffering from COME may have a difficulty in hearing.
Using an iPhone app to detect an ear infection
Children vs. adult ear infections
In terms of age, an ear infection in children occurs far more often than in adults. Because of underdeveloped immune systems, bacteria and children’s ears often go hand in hand at this young age. The tiny ears of the children also play a huge role in why ear infection is common at their age. Because of the shape and size of the Eustachian tubes in the ears, fluids tend to get trapped more often.
Signs of an ear infection in children
Some children have an ear infection before they can even talk, so parents need to check for signs that suggest pain or discomfort in the ear. This may include:
- Ear pulling or tugging
- Crying, fussiness and irritability
- Fluid coming out of the ear
- Hearing or balance problems
In the past, doctors have immediately prescribed antibiotics for treatment of an ear infection. Nowadays, instant prescription of such a strong medication is not recommended nor popular anymore. If the child isn’t experiencing extreme ear pain or high fever, doctors advise parents to wait out for the ear ache and other symptoms to disappear after two days. This is because some ear infections can get better without the need for antibiotics. If there is no change in the symptoms, antibiotics can be started.
When taking antibiotics for an ear infection, it is important that it is taken as prescribed and in the full amount.
Have you ever had a previous experience of ear infection in children? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below. For more information on ear infection in children, please see this video: