How to treat Ear Infections in babies – myth and reality
Almost all children get ear infections, which need to be treated with antibiotics.
Ear infections are very common, but are manageable not always with antibiotics.
How to treat Ear Infections in babies the facts
If it seems that parents you know are always talking about their kids ’ear infections, it ’ s because this ailment is as common as the common cold, particularly among children younger than age six.
Many pediatricians would agree that during the winter months, they see more patients for earaches and infections than for anything else.
Your child is not doomed to have loads of ear infections simply because she ’ s a child, however. While some babies, toddlers, and older children do seem more prone to acute otitis media, or middle ear infection, it can be managed, and antibiotics aren ’ t always the answer.
Kids get more ear infections than adults because their eustachian tubes (named for the sixteenth – century anatomist Eustachius), which connect the middle ear to the back of the throat, are shorter and horizontal.
Until the tubes mature and grow longer and begin to slant downward, it ’ s easier for germs to enter them and for the tubes to become blocked (with fluid that germs like to breed in) because of poor drainage.
Acute otitis media (AOM) often follows a cold or flu (unlike the cold virus, otitis media is not passed from person to person) a runny or stuffy nose can cause the eustachian tubes of one or both ears to fill with fluid, which kicks off the infection, or at the very least, painful pressure (the resulting earache).
If your child is complaining of ear pain (babies will tug at their ears) in one or both ears, has a fever, and is having trouble hearing because the tubes are blocked, an infection is probably at work.
(Temporary AOM – related hearing loss, which is usually mild, often goes undetected because the unaffected ear will have normal hearing.)
If you notice bloody pus draining from the ear canal or a crust indicating drainage, the infection has caused the eardrum to rupture.
Though this sounds gruesome, it ’ s actually the body ’ s way of naturally relieving the painful pressure from blocked tubes, and your child will start to feel better (the eardrum usually heals in about a week).
you should let your doctor know if the eardrum has ruptured, as she may still want to treat the ear to prevent further damage.
How to Treat Ear Infections in Babies
In consultation with your doctor, here are some treatment options you may apply.
- Use antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor. Most ear infections are caused by bacteria and can be treated with antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe Amoxicillin or another antibiotic to treat your baby’s ear infection. Use it as directed for the entire duration. If you stop too soon, the bacteria can begin to grow again. Watch for signs of an allergic reaction to the antibiotic, and be aware that antibiotics will be ineffective against viral infections.
- Apply ear drops as instructed by your doctor. Your doctor may direct you to use ear drops to help alleviate the pain and treat the infection. Drops will generally be used only when there is no drainage occurring from the ear.
- Give medication such as Pediatric Tylenol, Motrin or Advil to treat the pain. Be certain to thoroughly read the instructions and make sure the medication is safe for babies For best results, determine the dosage according to your child’s weight. Your pharmacist can supply you with a syringe to help you administer the medication. Be aware, though, that these medications will help treat the pain, not the infection itself.
- Allow the infection to “run its course.” Not all infections require medication. If the infection is minor, your doctor may suggest waiting to see if it will clear up on its own. Prescribing antibiotics too quickly can result in your child developing a resistance to antibiotics. However, if the condition worsens, antibiotic treatment may become necessary.
- Apply a warm com press to your baby’s ear. A warm cloth or water bottle can help relieve the pain. Make sure the compress is warm, not hot. Again, this will help with the pain and not the infection itself.
- Elevate your baby’s head while sleeping. Most ear infections occur when fluid is not draining properly through the Eustachian tubes in the middle ear. Elevating your baby’s head will help the fluid drain. You can elevate your baby’s head by securely placing blocks under the legs at the head of the crib or by placing a pillow underneath the mattress. Make sure the pillow is placed under the mattress, not on top.
- Have tubes surgically inserted in your baby’s ear. In severe cases and after frequent infections, your doctor may recommend that tubes by inserted in the ear to help with the draining of fluid and the prevention of future infections.
As with any health concern how to treat ear infections in babies , be sure to consult with your doctor. Do this quickly, as delaying treatment can lead to complications. As soon as you suspect your baby has an ear infection, make an appointment with your doctor. If an appointment cannot be made in a timely manner, take your baby to visit a local clinic or emergency room.