Ear Infections in Kids: 5 Answers for Worried Parents
Is your little one tugging on an ear and acting cranky? It may be an ear infection. Our expert answers the five questions parents most often ask about children’s ear infections and ear tubes.
When your child seems to have ear pain and is acting cranky, you may suspect an ear infection. And chances are you’d be right. “Ear infections, called otitis media, are common between 6 months and 3 years of age,” says pediatric otolaryngologist Brandon Hopkins, MD.
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Caused by a virus or bacteria, ear infections may or may not accompany illness. Earaches can be acute or chronic:
Here, Dr. Hopkins answers five common questions for parents worried about a child’s ear infections:
Antibiotics aren’t always necessary and should be left to your doctor’s discretion. Your child may need a different approach to cure ear infections.
“If it seems like your child has an ear infection every time you turn around and it’s affecting his or her quality of life, it may be time to consider an option like ear tubes,” Dr. Hopkins says. “Ear tubes allow the ear to drain, which helps to decrease pain along with the risk of future infections.”
It may be time to think about ear tubes when your child has had:
The surgery will take about 10 minutes to 15 minutes. Here’s what to expect:
“Little recovery time is required. Children go home the same day their tubes are inserted,” Dr. Hopkins says. “They can go back to school or play with their friends the following day.”
This is unlikely. Tubes usually fall out on their own within two years after insertion, Dr. Hopkins says. “Your child probably won’t even notice when they come out.”