You’re sleeping soundly when your baby wakes you up, crying. That’s nothing unusual, except this time, your infant won’t stop weeping no matter what you do.
There could be a list of reasons why your child’s crying, but you don’t know how to identify the right one. You suspect it might be an ear infection. How to be sure though?
Five out of six children will have an ear infection before they turn three. Ear infections in babies are so common because their immune systems are still developing.
Keep reading this article to learn everything you need to know about them.
1. Ear Infections in Babies: What They Are
Ear infections are also known as otitis media. Having one means that the middle ear is infected or inflamed.
While there are various kinds of middle ear infections, the most prevalent one in infants is called Acute Otitis Media, or AOM.
In this case, parts of the middle ear get bloated and infected because of trapped fluid. As a result, your child may experience pain in the ailing ear, as well as get a fever.
2. Where They Come From
When your baby’s ill with a cold or sinus infection, there can be an accumulation of fluid in the middle ear. This creates favorable conditions for viruses or bacteria to thrive.
As a consequence, your baby gets an ear infection.
The Eustachian tube, which links the middle ear to the nose and throat, is normally tasked with draining any incoming fluid. But when your baby gets sick, this tube tends to get obstructed and can’t perform its job.
This is when fluid gets trapped in the middle ear and an infection develops.
3. How to Tell If Your Baby Has an Ear Infection
Your baby can’t tell you with words that his or her ear hurts, but you can watch out for these signs of ear infection:
- tugging at the ear (if the baby also displays other symptoms)
- fluid draining from ear
- trouble sleeping
- trouble hearing
- reduced appetite
- poor balance
4. How to Treat Ear Infections
How to treat your baby’s ear infection might vary depending on how old he or she is. If your infant is less than 6 months old, or if the infection is quite severe, antibiotics might be required.
However, most of the time, symptoms will simply start receding after a couple of days. Full recovery generally happens after one to two weeks.
In the meantime, you can ease your baby’s pain by applying a warm, humid compress over your infant’s infected ear for 10 to 15 minutes. You can also facilitate sinus drainage by elevating your child’s head.
If you don’t notice any amelioration in your infant’s symptoms after a day or two, call your doctor.
5. Got Any Questions?
Now, you know the most important things about ear infections in babies.
You know what they are, how they occur and how to spot them. Generally speaking, waiting a couple of days will be enough for the infection to pass.