When you say the words “ear infection” to any mum, inevitably there will be stories of tearful little ones and long nights for all the family. Ear infections in babies are incredibly common, but that doesn’t mean that they are easy to deal with. In fact, it can be quite the opposite unfortunately. Here’s how to spot an ear infection in babies and how to give them the best relief possible.
What is an ear infection?
An ear infection is an inflammation of the middle ear. When a virus or bacteria get in, it can cause the area to become infected and swollen. The infection can cause fluid to build up behind the eardrum, creating a painful earache. Anyone can get an ear infection, but it’s especially common in babies and young kids: It’s actually the most common reason parents bring their child to the doctor.
What to look out for??
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that baby can’t actually tell you whats happening to them and where they are uncomfortable! So it is important to watch your little ones behavior and you should be able to spot these signs:
• Fever. Baby’s temperature could be from 100 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Runny nose. A runny nose is a common symptom. A baby ear infection can often be as a result of a cold.
• Fussiness. Ear infection in babies are very painful, so little one is definitely going to be extra cranky and fussy.
• Ear pulling. Constant tugging of the ear is a sign it may be bothering baby.
• Loss of appetite. The pain can be so bad that baby might not want to feed. The actions of sucking and swallowing can cause uncomfortable pressure changes in the middle ear.
• Trouble sleeping. The pain from an ear infection is relentless, and can lead to sleepless nights for your little one, and mum and dad too unfortunately.
What is the treatment?
Ear infection in babies may not need treatment at all, just keeping them as comfortable as possible, can help it work out of little ones system. Use appropriate pain relief, and lots of extra cuddles and patience. But if you do need to go to the doctor, he may recommend antibiotics if the infection is severe enough.
• Antibiotics. Doctors can be reluctant to give antibiotics, and may ask you to wait a couple of days to see if little one can fight it off themselves. But if medication is needed, most doctors prescribe amoxicillin as an antibiotic treatment, and move to stronger medications if the infection doesn’t clear up.
We would also recommend that even after a course of antibiotics is finished, that you do a follow up at your doctors. Only your doctor can clearly see that the infection has run its course. You don’t want another round of antibiotics in a weeks time!!!
How can you help prevent ear infections?
As we said in the beginning…ear infections are very common in little ones. And even if you do everything right to avoid them, your little one may simply get one regardless. But in saying that, there are a few tips that you could follow to lower the chances :
• Feed baby in an upright position. Feeding baby upright eliminates baby getting any milk dribbles into little ones ear!! It can happen without you even noticing!
• Avoid secondhand smoke. It is common knowledge that children of smokers are more prone to ear infections.
• Clear baby’s sinuses. When mucus gets into baby’s ears, it can cause infection. With little one tugging at sore ears, it can be very easy to transfer mucus from nose, to hand, to ear!!