Almost 85% of children have one or more ear infections before they turn three. An ear infection can turn a happy child into a fussy and miserable child – and when kids are very young, they can’t really explain where it hurts, either. That’s where the expert pediatric care team at Comprehensive Pediatrics comes in. The caring pediatricians offer comprehensive childhood ear infection care at their Edison, New Jersey, office, so click the online booking tool or call the office to arrange an appointment.
An ear infection happens when bacteria or viruses grow trapped inside the ear. The most common forms of ear infection in children are:
The most common kind of ear infection, acute otitis media, happens when the middle ear grows infected and trapped fluid puts pressure on the eardrum to cause pain.
In otitis media with effusion, the ear infection symptoms are gone, but some fluid lingers behind the eardrum.
In chronic otitis media with effusion, the fluid stays trapped inside the middle ear for an extended period or keeps collecting in the same area, even if your child doesn't currently have an infection. This makes it difficult to avoid new infections and may damage hearing if untreated.
All three types of ear infections require treatment.
Children may say their ears hurt, feel hot, or burn. They may also notice ear drainage on their pillowcase or have trouble keeping their balance.
If your nonverbal child acts particularly fussy, rubs or tugs their ears, or has swollen or red ears, it may be an ear infection. In severe ear infections, you may also notice that your child isn’t responding to noise as usual. Ear infections may cause a fever, especially in infants and younger toddlers.
Young children have a very short, narrow, and highly angled eustachian tube. This tube joins the middle ear to the top of the throat, and it equalizes pressure in the ear.
A short, narrow, and angled eustachian tube makes it hard for young children to drain middle ear fluid, and also allows bacteria to reach the middle ear easily. The adenoids, the tissue pads behind the nose, can also contribute to ear infections by preventing the eustachian tubes from opening.
Eustachian tubes lengthen and widen as your child grows, and palate growth reduces the sharp angle. Plus, a child’s immune system strengthens as they grow, helping them fight infections better. All of this typically contributes to diminished ear infections as a child grows.
The Comprehensive Pediatrics team recommends pain relief measures to help your child get comfortable. They may prescribe antibiotics, as well.
If your child has chronic ear infections, your child’s pediatrician may recommend a surgical procedure to install temporary ear tubes that improve drainage and airflow.
Comprehensive Pediatrics is open seven days a week and offers telehealth appointments as well, so get ear infection treatment by clicking the online scheduler or calling the office.