Posted on by Paula Gallagher
By the time your child has reached the age of 2, he or she may have already suffered through at least one ear infection. And according to The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), ear infections account for 25 million office visits annually with direct costs for treatment estimated at $3 billion. Antibiotics are still the most recommended solution to ear infections for children under the age of 1, even though many ear infections are caused by viruses.
Symptoms of an ear infection in children can include:
- Ear pain
- Fussiness or irritability
- Rubbing or tugging at an ear
- Difficulty sleeping
If your child is experiencing any of these, it is always a good idea to check in with your doctor. Many times antibiotics are not needed and the infection can heal on its own. However, in some cases, antibiotics may be needed.
For mild cases of middle ear infection, your doctor might recommend watchful waiting or delayed antibiotic prescribing.
Watchful waiting: This is basically waiting to see if the ear infection clears up on its own, letting the body’s own immune system do the work in clearing the infection.
Delayed prescribing: Your child’s doctor may give an antibiotic prescription but suggest that you wait 2–3 days to see if your child is still sick before filling it.
Still, as most parents know, ear infections can be painful and we want to protect our children from them as much as possible. If your child has an ear infection, try addressing the symptoms with the following tips, to help provide relief.
- Place a warm compress over the infected ear to relieve pain.
- Gentle massage around the ear may also provide some relief.
- Prop your child’s head up at a 30-degree angle while he or she is lying down.
- Try ear drops. Warm the bottle in your hands, then place two to five drops in the infected ear. Place a cotton ball in the ear to prevent the oil from leaking out. Your child may smell like garlic, but the ear oil is soothing and the garlic has antibacterial properties.
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