Written by Smita Srivastava
Ear infection in toddlers is very common. Babies, toddlers, and even adults are prone to ear infections. While they can be alarming when it is your toddler crying in pain, in most cases, the ear infection will clear on its own without any lasting effects. It is just a phase your toddler’s immune system has to survive and learn from.
Parents, despite knowing ear infections are common in children, tend to feel guilty for letting the infection get to their toddlers. Relax, it is not your fault. Toddlers are more prone to ear infections than adults. So, you cannot control everything around them. Why does your toddler get an ear infection despite all the precautions you take? Read on to learn more.
In This Article
Ear infection in toddlers is the inflammation around the middle ear which connects to the nose and the back of the throat. In most cases, it is due to bacteria that occurs when there is a lot of fluid build-up in this area – in the passage that connects the nose to the throat.
When your toddler has a cold or phlegm, the inner ear fluid usually drains through the throat. If there is inflammation in this area, due to bacteria or virus, the tract can swell enough to shut. When the fluid can’t drain, it starts building up, which becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in an ear infection.
Ear infection in toddlers is very common. Studies report that five out of six children suffer from ear infection before they turn 3 years old. Even a simple cold can turn into an ear infection if the fluid builds up.
Toddlers are highly prone to ear infections. There is not much you can control. Some of the possible causes of an ear infection in your toddler are:
Not all ear infections will have fluid draining out of the ear. Some can be just discomfort or pain inside the ears. Here are some symptoms to watch out for-
Diagnosing an ear infection in a toddler can be tricky. Most of them won’t be ready to sit on the doctor’s chair and let their ears be explored.
So, doctors will first try to understand the symptoms. If your toddler has a cold or shows symptoms of an ear infection, the doctor will use an otoscope – an instrument to help them inspect the inside of your toddler’s ear.
When your toddler has an ear infection, the doctor will check how severe it is and treat it accordingly. Some of the treatment options are-
Most ear infections in toddlers clear away on their own and doctors don’t prefer to medicate unnecessarily. So, your doctor might ask you to just wait and see for a couple of days.
If your toddler is in severe pain that is affecting their regular routine, your doctor might prescribe some medicines to relieve the pain.
Distracting your toddler’s pain may not be the best parenting hack but it will at least help your toddler forget the immense pain.
Most ear infections will clear out on their own without medications. However, you cannot just sit idle and watch your toddler suffer in pain. Here are some home remedies to help your toddler’s ear infection-
Just because toddlers are prone to ear infections, does not mean we should not do anything to prevent it. Here are some ideas to prevent an ear infection in your toddler-
Bacteria can cause multiple infections, which can eventually reach the ear. It is essential to vaccinate your child as per age recommendations.
[Read : Toddler Diseases & Vaccinations]
If your toddler has a severe cold, it can lead to fluid build-up causing severe pain. So, treat the cold or flu first, and prevent a fluid build-up.
If you have the habit of using talcum powder on your baby’s face and neck, stop it immediately. The powder can fly and deposit in closed moist areas. The ear is moist and wet most of the time. When the powder enters the ears, it will slowly build up into a block causing too much pain and hearing loss.
Keep your toddler away from sick people. They are too young and their immunities are still developing. They can catch an infection very easily, which in turn can become an ear infection quickly.
The sucking motion can help release the pressure and blockage in the eardrums, thus reducing pain and eventually, the infection.
Some ear infections may not clear on their own and may require something more than home remedies. If you notice the following in your toddler, consult your doctor at the earliest-
Ear infections in toddlers are very common. It is not the parent’s fault if the toddler gets an infection. Unless it is a serious infection that requires treatment in the hospital, your toddler will not have any lasting impacts.
Most ear infections in toddlers will clear up in 3 to 5 days, without any treatment or medications.
A well-balanced diet that includes green leafy vegetables, bananas, oranges, milk products, and fish are good for ear health.
No, ear infections are not contagious and cannot spread from one toddler to another.
Yes, swimming can cause ear infections if the contaminated water is left in the ear and not cleaned after a swim. It can lead to the formation of bacteria.
Your toddler’s immune system is still developing and learning to fight bacteria and viruses. The Eustachian tubes are smaller and horizontal, which makes it more difficult for fluid to drain out, thus leading to a build-up.
With a background in Mass media and journalism, Smita comes with rich and vast experience in content creation, curation, and editing. As a mom of a baby girl, she is an excellent candidate for writing and editing parenting and pregnancy content. The content she writes and edits is influenced by her own journey through pregnancy and motherhood. When not writing- She can be found curled up with a book. Or, bingeing on Netflix.Read more.