Babies require special care and attention as they are more susceptible to diseases. Ear infection is one of the most common diseases that children below the age of one face. It is not very dangerous, but proper medication is necessary once the diagnosis show that the baby has this disease, to avoid the disease from getting worse. It is one of the most common diseases after cold. Besides the particular symptoms of a disease, the babies show some general symptoms. These general signs that baby show during any disease are as follows:
- The baby starts getting upset very easily
- The baby starts to cry more than the usual
Causes of Baby Ear Infection
An ear infection is a very common disease. Either bacteria or virus attack causes it. Ear infection occurs when the fluid formed behind the baby’s eardrum is infected. When any fluid enters the area behind the eardrum, it leaves the ear through the Eustachian tube. The tube connects the middle ear with the back of the nose and throat. The blockage in the Eustachian tube does not allow the liquid to move out of the ear. This blockage occurs due to cold and infections caused by sinus. The blockage occurs in the allergy season as well. The bacteria or the virus that causes the ear infection likes to grow in warm and wet places. This is the reason that these germs use the ear area as a breeding ground. Once the infection starts, gradually with time inflammation begins in the ear, which further worsens the situation.
The baby can get a fever during an ear infection. This is because the body fights against the germs that cause the infection. The ear infection accompanied with fever and the redness of the inner ear is termed as acute otitis media. A recent study has found that the use of pacifiers by babies is also a major reason for the cause of the ear infection. The ear infection affects babies more than the adults. This is because the babies have very short and horizontal Eustachian tubes. Their Eustachian tube starts getting longer and gets vertical as they grow which helps the fluid from the ear to drain off easily.
The ear infection has some particular symptoms associated with it. The symptoms that are involved with the ear infection in babies are:
- The virus that leads to ear infection in babies also causes diarrhea and vomiting.
- The baby starts to pull, grab and tries to cover the ears with its hands.
- The ear infection in babies makes it difficult for them to swallow or chew their food, hence they start avoiding food.
- Yellowish or whitish fluid coming out of the ear of the babies is also a sign that the baby might have an ear infection. Not all the babies show the same sign.
- A bad or unpleasant odor might come from the ear of the babies.
- The babies might feel difficulty in sleeping during the ear infection.
Treatment of Baby Ear Infection
The approach or the way of treating the ear infection depends on the intensity of the disease. The doctors might advise the parents to do the following:
- Use of painkillers: The doctors might advise the parents to give painkillers like ibuprofen to the babies especially if they are less than six months old. The painkillers relieve the baby from the pain caused by the ear infection.
- Antibiotics: The doctor would prescribe antibiotics for your baby. The dosage depends on how severe the infection is.
It is important to keep a check on the condition of the infection. You should give your baby the entire prescription provided by the doctor to ensure that your baby has no issues.
Otolaryngologists carry out a procedure of inserting an ear tube in the ear of a baby. In the cases where the baby faces ear infections very often, ear tube is used. In this procedure, the doctor creates an incision in the ear is made for inserting a tube in the ear. This insertion of the tube allows the ear to breathe and causes the fluid to come out as a result the bacteria or viruses do not grow in the ear. The doctor only carries out this surgery if the baby has liquid in the ear, which may cause continuous infections and even may lead to hearing loss.
Ear infections are not dangerous, but they accompany certain diseases that lead to respiratory infection. You must wash your hands and the hands of your baby whenever you use the toilet, change the diapers and prepare the food. Taking Hib and pneumococcal vaccine reduces the chances of an ear infection drastically among babies. A recent study has shown that the babies whose parents smoke have a risk of getting an ear infection and even might face hearing issues too. Breast-feeding the baby for the first six months is very important as a mother transfers the immune building antibodies to their babies.
A proper treatment is necessary for an ear infection. An untreated ear infection can lead to hearing loss in babies. Once the symptoms of the ear infections occur, you must call your doctor. A periodical follow up with the doctor is important. The follow up helps in making sure that your baby’s eardrum is fine. Repeated ear infection causes hearing issues in babies. The untreated ear infection may lead to some other complications. The infection spreads to the bones underneath. This situation is termed as mastoiditis. The infection can also spread into the membrane surrounding the brain and the spinal cord, which can cause meningitis. Hence, it becomes very important to keep a check on the symptoms of the ear infection. If you feel that the symptoms exist for more than 24 hours, then you must call your doctor. Early detection and proper steps can cure the disease very easily. One should avoid any sort of self-medication like use of cotton to close the ear or putting the oil in the ear until the doctor asks to do so.