An ear infection in babies means the inflammation of the middle ear, also known as otitis media. Very often bacteria and viruses can enter the ear and multiply, trapping the fluid inside the ear, causing the area to become swollen and painful. While adults too can get an ear infection, but it is seen very often in babies.
After the common cold, ear infections are the most common complaint in children. In fact, it is a very common reason why parents get their babies to a doctor. According to studies, 23 % of the babies have come down with an ear infection before their first birthday and more than 50% of them have had at least one episode before they turned three.
Bacteria and viruses are the most common causes for ear infections in babies. The fluid behind the eardrum starts to fill up and get infected. Normally, any fluid that is collected in that area drains through a tube that connects the middle ear to the nose and throat, known as the Eustachian tube. If this tube gets blocked during a cold or an allergy for example, the fluid gets infected causing the eardrum to become red and swollen. Germs tend to multiply faster in wet and warm places and the middle ear acts as a breeding ground for them. As the infection worsens, the inflammation increases and the baby may develop symptoms like fever and ear pain.
Your baby is unable to tell what is hurting her, so you will need to turn into a detective to spot for signs of an ear infection.
An ear infection in infants commonly resolves within a few days, so a common treatment plan is to give antibiotics as per the doctor’s consultation, keep patience and give the baby lots of hugs. Even though it is a common condition, it must be evaluated by a doctor to prevent any complications. Speak to your pediatrician about over the counter pain relievers that are safe for your baby along with ear drops. Even after the symptoms have disappeared, visit your doctor to ensure that the baby’s infection has fully cleared up. Make sure that there is no residual infection or scarring. For severe infections, the doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics or in some cases, surgery to drain the fluid.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.
Also read: Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease
Explore the entire collection of articles: Kid's Health