Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center
Pediatricians located in Bel Air, MD
There are few things that can make your child more unhappy than an ear infection, and unfortunately, they’re fairly common — almost 30 million doctor visits in the US each year are for ear infections. To help shorten the impact and duration of an ear infection, seek the medical help of the providers at Laurel Pediatrics & Teen Medical Center. We have extensive experience treating ear infections in children, helping them get back to their normal, happy selves. If you are in Harford County, Maryland, and your child has an ear infection, call to schedule an appointment.
Ear Infection Q & A
What is an Ear Infection?
Five out of six kids will have an ear infection by the time they turn three, and ear infections are the number one driver behind a visit to the doctor. It’s no wonder, given the disruptive nature of this painful condition.
The pain of an ear infection is caused by inflammation in your child’s middle ear due to fluid buildup behind the eardrum.
What Causes Ear Infections?
Most ear infections develop when your child has a cold, flu, or other respiratory issues. The middle ear is directly connected to the upper respiratory tract via the Eustachian tube. Because your child’s Eustachian tube isn’t fully developed, it can become clogged, allowing bacteria and germs to breed in your child’s middle ear.
What are the Symptoms of an Ear Infection?
The most obvious symptom of an ear infection is pain, which can be severe as the fluid buildup and inflammation increase. There are subtler signs of a brewing infection, which include:
- Tugging on the ear
- Muffled hearing
- Ear drainage
- Decreased appetite and nausea
If your child is old enough to speak, it’s easy enough to find out what’s bothering them. If, however, your child is an infant, you’ll have to rely on the symptoms above to determine whether you’re dealing with an ear infection. Of course, the crying and inability to sleep are your first clear signs that an ear infection may be at play.
How are Ear Infections Treated?
Before deciding on a course of action, we will examine your child with an otoscope for a closer look inside the ears. We may also blow air through the instrument to determine whether there’s a blockage.
If one of our providers confirms a bacterial ear infection, we will prescribe antibiotics. If the infection is caused by a virus, you need to wait it out, but we will recommend some over-the-counter medications to relieve your child’s discomfort.
In less common cases where the infection doesn’t clear up, we may refer your child to an ENT specialist to make a small hole in your child’s eardrum to drain the fluids.
If your child is suffering from a possible ear infection, call Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center to make an appointment.