Ear infections in children causes, symptoms and treatment. Information about Ear Infections in young children.
Mild ear infections are common in young children. Some children have infiammation of the ears with most of their colds, and others never do. The ears are much more apt to be infected in the first 3 or 4 years of life. In fact, there is a slight ear inflammation in a majority of colds at this age, but it usually never comes to anything, and the child has no symptoms.
Usually the ear doesn’t become inflamed enough to cause pain until after a cold has been going for several days. The child over 2 tells what is the matter. A baby may keep rubbing his ear or just cry piercingly for several hours. There may or may not be fever. The doctor is apt to find at this stage that there is only a mild inflammation of the upper part of the eardrum. This is not an abscess. Manyear infections of this degree get well again in a few days with bed rest in a warm room, whether or not other treatment is used. A few, however, especially those in which there is fever from the beginning, get worse and develop into abscesses in a few days if treatment is not started. Incidentally, many early mild inflammations of the ear cause pain and tendemess behind the ear, in the mastoid region, but this does not mean an infection of the mastoid bone and is not a serious sign at this stage. I mention these points so that you will not begin worrying about an abscess or a mastoid infeetion the fust time an earache develops.
With prompt treatment with modem drugs, few ear infections get even as far as an abscess, and mastoiditis is rare. Any time that your child has an earache, you should get in touch with the doctor that same day, particularly if there is any fever. The drugs that are used when necessary work much better in the early stages of ear infections.
Once in a while an eardrum breaks very early in an infection and discharges a thin pus. You may find the discharge on the child’s pillow in the moming without his ever having complained of pain or fever. Usually, however, the drum breaks only after an abscess has been developing for several days, with fever and pain in any case, if you find your child’s ear discharging, the most that you should do is to tuck a loose plug of sterile absorbent cotton into the opening to collect the pus, wash the pus off the outside of the ear with soap and water, and get in touch with the doctor. if the discharge leaks out anyway and irritates the skin, wash the pus off and protect the skin with petroleum jelly.
It is quite comman for a child to become deaf after a few days of even a moderate ear infection. In practically all cases, this deafness elears up if the infection is promptly and correctly treated.
***This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a doctor warning or recommendation.