Ear Infection In Kids: What You Need To Know

Worried about your child getting an ear infection? Read what the expert has to say and how you can prevent it.

Come winter or monsoon, kids suffer from persistent cough and cold. Also, at this time we often have children complain of ear pains.

Children have a short and narrow Eustachian tube (a small tube which connects the back of the throat and the middle ear) as compared to adults. Also, adenoid enlargement in children causes blocking of the Eustachian tube causing infection in the middle ear known as Otitis Media. With every infection, the virus/ bacteria travels through the throat to the ear causing the infection. 

What Are The Symptoms Of An Ear Infection?

  • Ear pain (children below 2 years may not be able to communicate this well)
  • Fever
  • Pulling the ears
  • Disturbed sleep/ sudden crying episodes (especially in younger children)
  • Ear discharge, buzzing or ringing sensation in the ear

Which Children Are At Risk?

How Is Ear Infection Diagnosed And Treated?

Doctors use a special light called an “Otoscope” to visualize the eardrums and look for fluid or redness. Occasionally, a test called “tympanometry” may be done to look for fluid in the middle ear.

You should know that not all middle ear infections need antibiotics. If the child is comfortable and has a mild fever, he/she will be observed for 24-48 hours and reassessed. If symptoms worsen then antibiotics would be needed. You will see a response to the antibiotics within 48hours. Children need to complete the course of antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor to ensure the infection is taken care of.

Ear drops are generally not needed as most infections are within the eardrum. However, pain relievers work well to reduce the pain. Steam inhalation also helps to soothe the mucus that may be blocking the ears and is a good measure to relieve symptoms.

How Can We Prevent This?

Regular washing of hands
Healthy food
Vaccination (especially for pneumococcal and flu vaccines)

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