Your child has cold and you notice that he/she is unusually fussy, cranky and irritable. It might just be the side effects of the cold, or he/she might be getting an ear infection. Ear infections are painful, especially in babies as they cannot tell you that their ears hurt. So it is important to catch the symptoms early on, identify the infection, and help your child deal with the pain and recover.
Medically referred to as Otitis media, ear infection is said to occur when the middle ear gets painfully inflamed. Most of these ear infections occur in the Eustachian tube, which gets swollen and one can notice inflammation. This tube also connects the nose, ears and the throat and the fluid that builds behind the eardrums causes pressure and pain. Ear infections are generally occur after a cold, so bacteria and virus can be blamed. Ear infections in babies are quite common, with 5 out of every 6 babies getting it before they celebrate their 3rd birthday, quotes https://www.healthline.com.
Ear infection in children is quite common, especially under the age of 1 year. A change in your baby’s mood is perhaps the first indication that something is wrong with your baby, and hence it should never be taken lightly. Some of the ways you can tell if your child has an ear infection are:
Ear infections are usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection that occur behind your child’s ear drum. Now in usual cases, when fluids enter the area behind the ear drum, it is quickly drained out through the eustachian tube. Eustachian tube is a narrow passage that connects middle ear to pharynx (back of nose and throat). However, if your baby has cold or a sinus infection, then the eustachian tube might be blocked, causing the fluid to build up behind the ear drum, making it a perfect ground for infections! Your little baby’s ear becomes the breeding place for germs – owing to the area being warm, moist and dark. As the infection spreads, it causes the area to be inflamed, leading to distress and pain in babies.
Children are more prone to ear infections than adults because their eustachian tubes are shorter, just (about 1/2 inch in length) and horizontal. Adults have vertical eustachian tubes about three times larger than babies and is also more vertical thus enabling quicker draining of any fluids that gets in the ears.
If you notice any sign of infection, it is advisable you take your child to the doctor right away. The doctor will use an otoscope to look inside the baby’s ear to detect an infection. If he sees a red, swollen ear drum, it’s a sign of infection. To confirm the diagnosis, he might use a pneumatic otoscope, which causes eardrum movement in an uninfected ear. If he sees that ear drum does not move in response to this device, then he will confirm that your baby has ear infection.
Most ear infections go off on their own. But depending on the severity of the infection, your child’s doctor might prescribe painkillers or antibiotics. However, it is recommended to wait for 48-72 hours before prescribing antibiotics. Antibiotics may also make a child develop diarrhea and vomiting, hence should be only administered if medically suggested. There are also multiple home remedies that you can try if you do not want to follow allopathic medicine.
Although mostly it is inconvenient and painful but not harmful, ear infections can sometimes be very serious, especially when it leads to eardrum rupturing. In fact repeated ear infections can cause permanent scarring in inner ear and result in hearing loss. Prevention is any day better than cure! So it is good to know few tips that can help in preventing ear infections: