Ear Infections In Toddlers - 7 Causes,8 Symptoms & 4 Treatments You Should Be Aware Of


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Ear infections can affect anyone at any particular age, but are more commonly diagnosed in children.
One of the many reasons why ear infections tend to be left undiagnosed for a long period of time is the fact that most toddlers cannot explain their concerns and symptoms properly. This allows the infection to progress, often worsening it.
It is presumed that around half of the total number of newborn babies, suffer from some or the other ear infection by the time they reach their first birthday. It is therefore, important to understand the basics of an ear infection so that you can easily detect the condition and start with your toddler’s treatment.

Causes Of Ear Infection In Toddlers:

An ear infection usually occurs due to a bacteria or a virus. When fluid starts to get built up behind the eardrum and gets infected, an ear infection is said to occur. There are many possible causes of an ear infection in your toddler. Some of these are:

  1. Having a family history of ear infections.
  2. Exposure to germs and bugs in certain high risk environments (day care centers).
  3. Exposure to passive smoking (living with an individual who smokes cigarettes).
  4. Having certain allergies.
  5. Premature birth
  6. Having certain health problems that affect the immune system.
  7. Living in areas having long winters.

It has also been found that children younger than 18 months of age, especially boys, are more likely to be affected by an ear infection.

Toddler Ear Infection Symptoms:

Pain is usually the first noticeable symptom associated with an ear infection. If your toddler can’t talk yet, you may also notice the following signs and symptoms which may be pointing out to the presence of an ear infection.

  1. Your toddler is cranky and irritated.
  2. Your toddler keeps tugging and scratching the infected ear.
  3. There is presence of yellow or whitish fluid around the ear.
  4. Your toddler is experiencing trouble hearing soft sounds.
  5. Your toddler shows reduced appetite and develops gastrointestinal problems.
  6. Your toddler may avoid eating as he finds chewing painful.
  7. You may smell foul odor coming from your child’s ear.
  8. Your toddler finds it difficult to balance (ears help maintain equilibrium).

Toddler Ear Infection Treatment Options:

Earlier, antibiotic medications were used to deal with most infections, including ear infections. However, in the recent years, bacteria and viruses have become stronger and resistant to general antibiotics. Thus a stronger dose of antibiotics is usually recommended.

Doctors these days have opted out of using antibiotics as a treatment for ear infections in toddlers. Here are some possible strategies your doctor may consider to deal with ear infection in toddlers:

  1. The wait and see approach, which is effective in lot of ear infections cases in children. Many a times, ear infections clear up by themselves in a couple of days, without the need of any medications or drugs.
  2. For infections that are painful, your child’s doctor may recommend mild pain relievers.
  3. For persistent infections, your child’s doctor may suggest a procedure that involves drainage of fluid accumulated in the ear using some tubes.
  4. For extreme cases of chronic ear infections, your child’s doctor may suggest removing your child’s adenoids (lymph tissues).

While these treatment options do work adequately, it is always best to try and prevent ear infections in the first place.
Getting your child vaccinated with the pneumococcal vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent most forms of ear infections. A lot of toddlers also suffer from bouts of ear infection after flu, so getting a flu shot may help.

[ Read: Baby Flu ]

Keep your eyes open to spot the signs in your little one. Your child may not be able to say it, but if there is anything that is bothering him, make sure you take a look and get medical opinion as soon as possible.

Share with us how you dealt ear infection problems in your toddler.

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