Ear infections are a common childhood illness. Ear infection can occur in the outer ear canal, otherwise known as swimmer’s ear. Typically, swimmer’s ear occurs when water sits in the outer ear, and causes irritation and infection. Swimmer’s ear can cause pain of the ear itself and drainage from the ear. It is treated with an antibiotic ear drop.
Middle ear infections occur when fluid becomes stagnate in the middle ear which is behind the ear drum. This can occur during colds or an allergy attack, since fluid cannot drain through a blocked Eustachian tube into the throat. When the fluid becomes stagnate in this area, it is prone to becoming infected with bacteria that resides in the oral cavity, leading to an ear infection. Middle ear infections can cause pain, fever, fussiness, poor sleep, and decreased appetite. Recurrent ear infections can sometimes lead to persistent fluid in the middle ear and subsequent hearing problems. Please speak to your pediatrician if your child has had multiple ear infections.
Middle ear infections can be treated with antibiotics in young children. In older children with ear infections, many times they will improve on their own even without antibiotics. Not all colds will lead to ear infections, so we cannot prevent ear infections by treating colds with antibiotics.
If you are worried your child has an ear infection, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with your pediatrician.