Does my baby have an Ear Infection?

Ear infections in babies are quite common, specially if your baby loves to make social appearances in parks, shopping malls, restaurants and outdoors where they are exposed to different kinds of people and hence various infections. An ear infection may also be the result of a prolong cold or any allergic reaction. 

You cannot control these invisible intruders that cause infections but what you can do is to timely identify the ear problem and seek help as soon as you can. It is better to get medical assistance as early as symptoms surface because waiting can make the situation worse.

Symptoms

It is quite easy for your doctor to determine if your baby has an ear infection. You will probably notice symptoms that include a constant tugging or attempting to tug at the offending ear(s). Your baby could cry a lot and s/he may also develop a fever. Your baby’s doctor may recommend medication to take care of the fever. Once you get medical attention for your baby, your little bundle of joy can be on their way to a speedy recovery.

Can an Ear Infection be serious?

When these infections appear to be very frequent, the doctor may embark on specialized testing to ensure there are no underlying factors that could be contributing to their frequent episodes. An early infant hearing test is highly recommended at this stage. These tests are highly effective in detecting hearing loss and hearing impairment at an early stage of your child's life. Otitis Media is one of the major reasons a child can have frequent ear infections. There can be many more.

Treatment

Depending on the age of your baby, an antibiotic may be prescribed by your baby’s doctor. However, it is important to note that certain bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. If your baby has frequent ear problems, the pediatrician may decide not to prescribe antibiotics for every episode of such infections.

In addition to fever, the poor baby may be experiencing pain during this infection. Usually, when a diagnosis is made, the doctor will also prescribe medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help provide relief from pain. If antibiotics are prescribed, a fever might surface as your baby takes the medication.

It is possible to provide some comfort to your baby through the use of ear drops. Ear drops may soothe the ear and also stop the pain for a while. However, the pain could return if the infection persists. If the infection is being treated with medication, you could also use the ear drops as an additional form of relief. The age of your baby can determine what is safe and effective, so always consult with a qualified medical professional before trying over-the-counter medications. You would not want to make the ailment worse or make your baby even more sick and uncomfortable.

What can I do as a parent?

Providing comfort, along with the best medical services, is the best treatment parents can give to their sick baby. Holding your baby close to you and being sensitive to his/her discomfort is another useful technique to use in providing him/her instant relief. This alone cannot help heal the infection, but as medication is given to your baby, it can be comforting to be held, rocked and swaddled. Keeping your baby as comfortable as possible and avoiding baths (go for sponge-bath) can also contribute to the healing process.

As you care for your baby, you may also discover other strategies that can help provide even more relief as he or she is recovering. These strategies vary from one baby to another. Spend a lot of time with him/her and notice what calms him/her down - it could be warm milk, breastfeeding, cold ice packs or your light finger strokes on his tiny head or ear region.

More about your baby's health.

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