Baby's Ear Infection in Winters - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Home Remedies
Created by Anurima Updated on Jan 13, 2020
Winters are meant for picnics, great food, and celebrations; certainly not sitting indoors and nursing your little one for an ear infection. Winters often give rise to this problem in children. To any parent, the thought of cold days brings back memories of the past winters when the child may have suffered from cold, flu or an ear infection. Ear infection in toddlers is a very common concern that many parents seem to share. Read on to find out symptoms, causes, and treatments for ear infection in infants.
What Is An Ear Infection?
An ear infection is also known as Acute Otitis Media. It is often a bacterial or viral infection affecting the middle ear - the area behind the eardrum. Read below
- The air-filled space could have a fluid buildup, which gets infected
- The fluid can get drained via the Eustachian tube but if the tubes are blocked due to the child suffering from cold, the fluid within the middle ear could get infected leading to an ear infection
Causes of Ear Infection
How Common is ear infection in kids? Why Are Children More Prone than Adults? Ear Infections in children are quite common. It is observed that 3 out of 4 children suffer from an ear infection by their 3rd birthday. Infants are more prone to ear infections than adults due to the following reasons:
- Eustachian tubes in children are smaller than in adults. This makes it difficult for the fluid to drain out of the ear
- The immune system in a child is less developed than an adult. This makes it more difficult for a child to fight infections
- If a child is suffering from cold and cough, bacteria from the nose and mouth can easily pass into the ear causing infection
What Are The Symptoms of Ear Infection?
Once a child contracts ear infection, the symptoms appear quite rapidly. Read here
- If your child is old enough to express, she/he will complain of ear pain. Very young babies cry inconsolably from the pain (usually even for a couple of hours)
- In infants and toddlers, frequent tugging or pulling the ear is a common sign
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Irritable and crying more than usual
- Reduced appetite as chewing or sucking may cause more pain
- Drainage of yellowish or whitish fluid - this is a sure sign of an infection
- Unpleasant smell from the ear
- Fever of 100º F or 38º C or more
- Difficulty in hearing
- A headache
Ear Infection Treatment - How to Cure?
Ear infections need medical attention at the earliest or the infection could spread making the condition worse. The doctor will consider your child's age and symptoms and treat the infection accordingly. Usually, a course of antibiotics is prescribed along with an ear drop. It is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics. Your child should start feeling better after a couple of days of starting on the medicines.
Ear Infections Home Remedies
If a child suffering from an ear infection every mom always looking "what can I do at home to help the child feel better?" In addition to the medicines prescribed by the doctor, you may try the following to help your child feel better.
- Keep her/his head elevated
- Warm compress to the ear may be applied to relieve pain
- Applying warm olive oil in the ear also helps in reducing pain and discomfort. Make sure it's warm, and not hot
- Give your child a warm bath. This helps loosens ear wax and relieve pain
How Can I Prevent My Child From Getting An Ear Infection?
The following are some prevention that every parent should care about if a child suffering from the ear problem. Read this
- Ear infections are not contagious, but following a few basic guidelines may help prevent your child from suffering from one
- Wash hands frequently before cooking meals and after changing diapers. Wash your child's hands after playtime, before mealtimes and after using the toilet
- Keep your child's vaccines up to date - the pneumococcal vaccine has been known to reduce the occurrence of ear infections
- Avoid exposing your child to second-hand smoking. Tobacco smoke is known to suppress the child's immune system, making her/him more susceptible to infections
- Never let your child fall asleep with a bottle in her/his mouth. Bacteria from the milk remains inside the mouth, which can easily cause infection
What Should I Do If My Child Suffers From Frequent Ear Infections?
If your child suffers from recurrent ear infections and antibiotics do not seem to help, the doctor may recommend a surgical procedure called Myringotomy. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. A small incision is made to relieve the pressure in the ear.
- A tiny tube made of plastic, metal or Teflon is inserted into the eardrum to help drain out excess fluid
- The incision heals in about two weeks and the tube is either removed by performing a small procedure or is naturally expelled in about a year's time
- Myringotomy may be recommended for children who suffer from frequent or prolonged ear infections. If the infection is not treated, it could lead to hearing loss and in very rare cases, it could lead to infection of the skull behind the ear, known as Meningitis. Difficulty in hearing due to persistent fluid in the ear could also result in slow language development in a child.
- You don't need to fear every change in season and keep your child indoors to prevent infections. No matter what the weather is, you may always make the best out of the day. On a dry day, you may step out with your child to feel the autumn season by collecting leaves or simply enjoying the changing colors of nature. When it gets colder, dress your child in comfortable clothes and head out to the outdoors to feel the cool air if the weather permits. If not, enjoy the day indoors by watching a movie with some popcorn and hot chocolate.
Allow your child to explore, be happy and grow healthy. Research has shown that exposure to germs to a certain extent makes a child's immunity stronger and can keep certain diseases at bay for life. Has your child had an ear infection in the past?
References: mayoclinic.org, cdc.gov, nidcd.nih.gov, medlineplus.gov
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