What can you do about your child's ear infection? First of all, recognize the signs so you can get her treated. At Northside Pediatric Associates in Conroe, TX, your pediatrician, Dr. Ayotunde Faweya, educate parents about otitis media and strategies to prevent this infection.
What is an ear infection?
Pediatricians in Conroe, TX, and across the country call an ear infection otitis media. It involves the ear canal, middle ear structure, and ear drum, or tympanic membrane.
Ear infections are inflammatory in nature. Developing from bacteria in accumulated fluid, otitis media may exhibit few to no symptoms, or in other cases, it may make your little one very ill. Babies and toddlers seem prone to ear infections because of the horizontal orientation of their Eustachian tubes, hoilow passageways between the nose and the back of the throat.
Usually, ear infections happen after a child has a cold or the flu. Even seasonal allergies precipitate otitis media because of excess mucous produced in response to allergic triggers such as grass pollen and animal dander.
Signs your child may have an ear infection
Typical signs include fever, malaise, crying, fussiness, ear pain, and reduced ability to hear. The Cleveland Clinic reports that several ear infections in a row--in other words, chronic ear infections--may cause speech and language delays because the child cannot hear properly.
Upon examination with a lighted otoscope, your child's doctor watches for dullness and redness in the ear drum. This finding is diagnostic for otitis media.
Treating ear infections
Some ear infections do resolve by themselves. Others, however, need treatment with antibiotics. Chronic ear infections may require a few courses of this medication. Lastly, children may benefit from surgical placement of thin ear tubes which drain fluid from the middle ear and avoid infection altogether.
Preventing ear infections
Unfortunately, this is not always possible. However, these simple strategies may help prevent some infections, or at least, make them less severe:
- Do not expose your child to cigarette smoke.
- Breast feed as long as possible.
- If you do bottle feed, make sure the baby is not lying completely flat while drinking his or her formula.
If you think your child is showing symptoms of a middle ear infection, please contact your pediatrician at Northside Pediatric Associates in Conroe, TX, for a sick appointment. We are open six days a week, including Saturdays. Our phone number is (936) 270-8655.