For our little ones, ear infections can be a deeply distressing thing to go through. They are uncomfortable, they can’t sleep properly, and all they want is for you to ‘kiss it better’ and ease the pain.
Unfortunately, we as parents are not miracle workers, and we just have to wait things out for a few days and allow the infection to pass. Of course, young children don't have a great deal of patience, and so we just have to do everything we can to make them feel comfortable.
Due to their developing little ears and their general exposure to viruses, children are much more likely than most to pick up an ear infection - usually as a result of a cold or flu virus. While they can happen at any time, tots around the ages of 3 months and 3 years will get ear infections more often.
So, because they are so common, we have devised a list of everything you need to know about ear infections. Whether it be the most common symptoms or how to best prevent infections in the future, we’ve got you covered:
What are the main symptoms?
Of course, if your child has recently had a head cold or has been in close contact with other sick people, then this is the first thing that you need to be aware of. Otherwise, the main symptoms of an ear infection are:
• Expressing pain with their ear
• Struggling to sleep
• High temperature
• Being easily irritated
• Losing balance
• Not being able to hear properly
How should you treat an ear infection?
Naturally, your course of action will depend on many factors, such as the age of your child and how severe their symptoms are. If your toddler is showing signs of an ear infection but isn’t irritated by it, then you could allow a window of 48 hours to give the infection to clear up on its own. If waiting does not help, or if your child is expressing discomfort from the beginning, then the best thing to do is to call up the doctor and get some oral antibiotics.
How can you stop an ear infection?
Unfortunately, some children will experience ear infections more frequently than others, and there is no concrete way to prevent getting one in the future. However, there are still a few things that you and your little one can do to try and stop ear infections in their tracks as much as possible:
• Of course, just like with any viral infection, the best way to keep your child safe is to steer clear of others when they are ill. Also, make sure that your toddler is washing their hands frequently throughout the day, regardless of what they are doing or who they have been with.
• The importance of vaccinations cannot be underestimated! These little injections will help to keep your child as ear infection-free as possible, so double check that your little one is up to date with all of their necessary jabs, including the annual flu vaccine.
• If your baby is having trouble with ear infections, then it could be their feeding position that is causing the problem. If your tot is lying on their back while having their bottle, then the milk’s reflux could end up clogging their eustachian tubes, which will only make them more susceptible to an ear infection.
• If your child is around cigarette or vape smoke, then this could lead them to develop ear infections more often, as well as other issues such as asthma. If you or a loved one is a smoker, make sure that there are no young kids around you when doing so.
If your little one is currently going through the pain of an ear infection, then we hope they feel better soon!