What Parents Should Know About Child Ear Infection

What Parents Should Know About Child Ear Infection
Ear infection is one of the most common diseases that troubles our children. After infections of the respiratory tract, ear infections are the second most common cause for which parents take their children to the pediatrician. Doctors call ear infections: otitis.

What are the different types of ear infections?

  • External otitis: is an inflammation of the ear canal
  • Otitis media: is an inflammation of the tympanic membrane

What causes an ear infection?

Ear infection usually occurs after your child has upper respiratory tract infections caused by viruses or bacteria that pass into the ear canal causing secondary infections.

What are the symptoms of ear infection?

  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Young children touch or pull their ears
  • Temporary hearing loss
  • Fluid outlet from the ear canal
  • Loss of appetite
  • You may have problems with balance

Children are more prone to ear infections because of the shape of their ears. This form prevents them from draining the fluid out of the ear under normal conditions. When the inner ear becomes inflamed due to a cold or other respiratory illness the drainage becomes much more complicated. This is associated with the fact that children’s immune systems are not as effective and when respiratory tract infections occur, bacteria or viruses become trapped in the adenoids, which produces a perfect environment for ear infections.

How are ear infections treated?

Ear infections are treated with antibiotics when they are caused by bacteria, but pediatricians are very careful when we prescribe antibiotics because most ear infections are caused by viruses and not by bacteria.

It is very important to take your child to the pediatrician if you suspect that your child has an infection or if you have the symptoms described above. Your pediatrician should take into account the age of your child, their health problems and how many times your child has had an ear infection. The most important thing is to prevent the serious complications of otitis not treated properly or in time such as mastoiditis.

Mastoiditis is an infection of the bone behind the ear. It is very dangerous and requires hospitalization for treatment.

-Dr. Denise Núñez is a pediatrician and founder of the Niño de la Caridad Foundation in the Bronx