Ear infections are common in young children. Viruses cause most ear infections. Some ear infections are caused by bacteria and can be treated with antibiotics.
You can’t catch an ear infection from someone else but illnesses, such as coughs and colds that lead to ear infections, are catching.
Some children get ear infections more often than others.
Symptoms such as a mild to high fever and loss of interest in eating or playing.
Ear infections also cause earaches. Older children can tell you if they have an earache. Young children and babies may just become cranky and fussy or cry more than usual. They may rub or pull their ears. Children may be more cranky when they lie down.
Doctors may treat children under two years of age with antibiotics. For older children, the doctor may suggest antibiotics or medicine for pain relief. Usually the doctor will want to check the ears again to make sure the infection is gone.
Decongestants and antihistamines do not help ear infections. Most ear infections are not serious.
The fluid may last for as long as three months but the child may not have a fever or even an earache. The child’s hearing may be affected but, most children get better without any medical treatment. Others may need medicine or tubes in their ears to correct the hearing problem.
Hearing loss in young children may need to be treated to prevent speech and language delay.
Call the doctor if your child has any of the following:
Print these pages as featured in the guide book, Sneezes & Diseases: A Resource Book for Caregivers & Parents.