Ear infections = virus. For a first time parent experiencing a infant or child with an ear infection it can be scary and unknown as sometimes it is hard to tell if your child has an ear infection or not, especially if they’re not yet old enough to simply say “my ear hurts”.

Very common in young children, ear infections are often caused by a virus. There are two types of ear infections: middle ear and outer ear. Middle ear infections are when fluid collects behind the eardrum, whereas outer ear infections are caused by extra moisture in the ear canal or damage to it.

Young children are more susceptible to middle ear infections as the Eustachian tubes that connect the middle ear to the throat are smaller. This allows for germs to travel up from the throat more easily. Children can have ear infections several times in a year before they get older and their Eustachian tubes grow, causing less chance of an ear infection.

Some symptoms of ear infections may include:

    • tugging on ear
    • reduced appetite
  • trouble sleeping
  • trouble hearing sounds
  • unpleasant smell coming from ear
  • red and swollen ear
  • fever

If you think your child has an ear infection ; make a visit to your regular GP for assessment. Antibiotics are not usually given for middle ear infections, but will be prescribed for outer ear infections. To care for at home, you can give your child paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with the pain. If your child is old enough to sleep with pillows, prop them up on two or more to help them sleep better at night. Avoid swimming for at least a week to give time for the ear infection to heal.

Information provided by Family Home Doctors