5 Signs Your Child May Have an Ear Infection
Wondering if your child has an ear infection? Here are 5 red flags that it’s likely and when ear tubes might be a good option.
Children often tug on their ears when they’re sleepy, but ear tugging and irritability also can be a sign of an infection.
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“Ear infections, also know as otitis media, are a common ailment for children from 6 months to 3 years old,” says pediatric otolaryngologist and head and neck surgeon Brandon Hopkins, MD.
Ear infections can be caused by either a virus or bacteria. They often begin when a child is sick, but some infections don’t accompany an illness.
Here are Dr. Hopkins’ answers to common questions that parents have about ear infections and ear tubes:
Antibiotics aren’t always called for and should be left to your doctor’s discretion. Another approach to curing ear infections may be necessary.
“If it seems like your child has an ear infection every time you turn around and it’s become a quality-of-life concern, it may be time to consider another option,” Dr. Hopkins says. “Ear tubes allow the ear to drain, which helps to decrease pain and the risk of future infections.”
It may be time to consider ear tubes if your child has had:
“There is little recovery time — the child goes home the same day they have tubes inserted,” Dr. Hopkins says. “They can go back to school or play with their friends the next day.”
Tubes usually fall out on their own within two years after insertion, Dr. Hopkins says. “The child probably won’t even notice when they come out.”