Pediatric Services Raleigh NC
Middle Ear Infections
Ear infection usually means an inflammation in the middle ear area rather than swimmers ear or otitis externa.
What Causes It?
Acute otitis media is a collection of infected fluid (usually pus) in the middle ear space and that causes sharp pain and sometimes fever in the young child.
Otitis media with effusion refers to fluid in the middle ear that is not necessarily infected.
Chronic otitis media usually refers to fluid in the middle ear for 6 weeks or longer.
Not all forms of otitis media need to be treated with antibiotics.
Is It Contagious?
Ear infections are not contagious but the colds that set children up for developing ear infections can be contagious.
What Puts My Child at Risk of Getting it?
Children are more prone to ear infections in the first few years of life because the Eustachian tubes are narrower, shorter and more horizontal. Exposure to second hand cigarette smoke, bottle feeding and child care attendance can increase the risk for otitis media. Boys develop more ear infections than girls as do children with a family history of ear infections.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Older children c/o ear pain but a younger child might be irritable or have a fever or trouble feeding or sleeping. Increased pressure in the middle ear can cause the ear drum to rupture causing fluid to drain from the ear. Fluid behind the ear drum can cause mild, temporary hearing loss. Otitis media with effusion usually has no symptoms and children sometimes c/o a sensation of fullness or “popping” in the ears.
When Should I Seek Help?
Call your pediatrician, if your child has a high fever, ear pain, difficulty sleeping or feeding or ear discharge
What Will My Doctor Do?
Give the child a dose of Tylenol or Motrin till you can see your pediatrician.
How is it Diagnosed?
Looking at the ear drum with an otoscope is sufficient to diagnose otitis media.
What is the Treatment?
Ear infections in older children can resolve on their own without treatment. Factors to consider when deciding treatment include- age of the child, frequency of ear infections, type & severity of ear infections and associated risk factors. High risk children such as those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, children with immune disorders or h/o recurrent ear infections or a young child with a severe infection will need to be treated with appropriate antibiotics.
Tylenol or Motrin may be used to ease the pain or fever as needed. Pain relieving ear drops can be used if the ear drum isn’t ruptured.
Children with persistent hearing loss or speech delay may need ear tubes to drain the infected fluid and help equalize the pressure in the middle ear.
Breast feeding, avoiding exposure to second hand smoke and keeping children up to date with their immunizations have been known to decrease incidence of middle ear infections. Proper hand washing and avoiding daycares at a young age decreases chances of catching colds that increase the risk for developing recurrent ear infections.
A professional should always be consulted when you believe your child has a case of Strep Throat. At Durant Road Pediatrics’ convenient office located at 10880 Durant Road, Suite 215, Raleigh NC we take the extra time and effort to ensure the safety and comfort of your child. Contact us today to have Dr. Arora diagnose, treat and explain your Child’s illness and how to prevent future occurrences.