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Causes and Treatment for a Child’s Middle Ear Infection

A child getting a middle ear infection treatment from a pediatrician

Middle ear infections impact a large proportion of infants and toddlers, leading to discomfort, sleeping problems and other uncomfortable symptoms. During sick care appointments at Vickery Pediatrics, our skilled pediatricians identify possible causes and provide targeted treatments for the infection. Fortunately, most middle ear infections are not serious, and various remedies can soothe a child’s symptoms. But with the potential for chronic infections, parents should speak with a pediatrician when they have concerns.

What Is a Middle Ear Infection?

A middle ear infection can be caused by a virus or bacteria. It happens in the space behind the eardrum. If this space cannot be adequately drained by the Eustachian tube, it can fill with fluid that eventually may become infected. The fluid can act like an earplug and cause a decrease in hearing for a while until the space is clear again.

What Are the Possible Symptoms of a Middle Ear Infection?

  • Fever greater than 100.4
  • Ear pain or pulling at the ears
  • A temporary decrease in hearing or falling more often than usual
  • Being fussy or not being able to sleep
  • Vomiting or having diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Pus draining from the ear

What Other Reasons Could Cause My Child’s Ears to Hurt?

Ear pain can also be caused by:

  • An infection of the ear canal skin (known as “swimmer’s ear”)
  • Blocked or plugged Eustachian tube (the tube that connects the ear and the throat) from a cold or allergy
  • A sore throat
  • Teething or sore gums

What Is the Treatment for a Middle Ear Infection?

Your child’s doctor will talk with you about specific care for your child. Some general guidelines to follow include:

  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol)  for pain and fever. Follow the dosage charts carefully or ask your child’s doctor how much medicine to give. Do not give your child more than 5 doses of acetaminophen in a 24-hour period.
  • Give plenty of fluids.
  • Medicines as advised by your child’s doctor.
  • Keep your child away from cigarette smoke.
  • Do not allow your child to take a bottle to bed.
  • Have your child’s ears rechecked as told by your doctor.
  • Never stick a cotton swab (for example Q-Tip) or other pointed object in your child’s ear to clean it out. This can harm the ear.

When to Call the Doctor If Your Child Has a Middle Ear Infection

Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has one or more of the following symptoms:

  • He does not smile or play for even a few minutes every 4 hours
  • Still has fever, irritability or pain 48 hours after antibiotics are started
  • He develops new symptoms
  • There are signs of dehydration:
    • No urine in six to eight hours in an infant younger than 1-year-old
    • No urine in more than eight hours in a child older than 1-year-old
    • No tears when crying
    • Sunken eyes
    • Dry lips and mouth
  • He has problems taking the antibiotic

Here is additional general information about ear infections that may be helpful.

Contact Us for Pediatric Middle Ear Infection Treatments in Cumming

At Vickery Pediatrics, we provide accurate diagnosis, management and effective treatment for middle ear infections in children. Our clients are located across Georgia, including locations such as Cumming, Buford, Dawsonville, Gainesville, Johns Creek, Sugar Hill, Suwanee and Forsyth County. For assistance, call (678) 990-2501 or request an appointment today.

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