Signs Your Child Has an Ear Infection

By Dr. Christina M McAlpin
November 17, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Ear Infection  

Is your young child complaining of ear pain? Is he running a fever, or is she fatigued and fussy? Your youngster may have an ear infection, a childhood malady frequently seen by your ENT doctor in Los Angeles, CA, Dr. Christina McAlpin.

What is an ear infection?

Either bacterial or viral, most childhood ear infections involve the middle ear, its tiny bones and the eardrum. More common than even the cold or the flu, ear infections, or otitis media, affect 25 percent of all school-age children at some point, say experts at the Cleveland Clinic.

Kids with asthma, allergies and a family history of otitis media are most prone to these uncomfortable acute illnesses which can last up to ten days. Additionally, babies and toddlers develop middle ear infections easily because of their short and horizontally-oriented eustachian tubes. Bacteria or viruses precipitate inflammation and fluid build-up behind the eardrum, causing the characteristic ear pain.

What are its symptoms?

Otitis media has the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Fussiness
  • Poor sleeping
  • Fever up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • A bulging eardrum
  • Muffled hearing
  • Drainage (effusion)
  • Difficulty swallowing

Some children are mildly symptomatic, and infections resolve with little to no treatment. Other infections, however, are very serious and uncomfortable and require a visit with your ENT doctor in her Los Angeles, CA, office.

How does your ENT doctor treat ear infections?

When you see Dr. McAlpin, she will review your child's symptoms and use an otoscope to look inside the ear canal. Fluid build-up and inflammation is obvious on visual inspection. She may do a tympanogram, too, to determine how well the eardrum responds to sound waves.

Based on her findings, she'll advise warm compresses and over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain. With bacterial infections, she may prescribe a course of antibiotics, particularly if symptoms have persisted for a couple of days with a fever over 102 degrees.

If a child has repeat infections, surgical insertion of tiny ventilation tubes into the eardrums may be an option. These tubes facilitate fluid drainage and improve hearing immediately. The tubes usually fall out by themselves with a year.

Let us help your child feel better

Dr. Christine McAlpin helps kids overcome ear infections and their associated problems. For kind, compassionate care in the Los Angeles, CA, area, phone your ENT doctor and her team at (213) 745-4060.

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