Ear infections in children are one of the most common reasons for doctor visits outside of regular checkups. According to the National Institutes of Health, by the age of three, 75% of children will have experienced at least one ear infection.
WHAT IS AN EAR INFECTION?
Ear infections, or otitis media with effusion, involve the tubes in the middle ear. The ear becomes infected by bacteria or viruses from bathing or swimming, or after colds or other respiratory infections. As a result, the ear canal fills with fluid, causing intense pressure and pain. Ear infections often impact hearing as well. The adenoid glands near the ear can also become swollen and cause similar symptoms.
SIGNS OF AN EAR INFECTION
Below are typical symptoms of ear infections in small children:
- Frequent crying
- Rubbing, tugging or scratching the ear or cheeks
- Fluid draining from the ear
- Problems sleeping
- Difficulty hearing
- Difficulty with balance or standing
- Tenderness or pain in the vicinity of the ear
IS IT AN EMERGENCY?
Sometimes ear infections pass on their own and are of short duration. However, you should bring your child to ER Katy for emergency medical treatment if you see any of the following symptoms:
- Severe pain
- High fever
- Symptoms don’t resolve within a day
- Discharge of fluid, pus or blood
A doctor will inspect the ear canal for signs of blockage and infection. In many cases, treatment is quick and can resolve the issue within a day or two. In some cases, particularly in children who experience recurrent infections, the child may need tubes surgically implanted to help with drainage. Antibiotics and pain medications may also be prescribed.
For more details on how to recognize an ear infection, visit WebMD.
If you suspect your child has an ear infection that requires emergency medical treatment, the doctors and staff at ER Katy are ready to help. Come in at the first sign of distress. We are here for you!