Last night I got a scare from my 4-year old baby girl. At about 8pm, while almost finishing her dinner, all of a sudden she complained of ear pain. We thought that it was just a lame excuse from her so that she could avoid finishing the remaining rice and veggie. But she cried (which is not usual) and kept complaining that her right ear was painful. This went on for almost an hour. I immediately google searched ’symptoms and causes of ear infection in children’. One of the causes is recent flu and upper respiratory throat infection, so bingo! As she is still recovering from a flu and cough, this could be one of the reasons. My hubs sped home and brought his precious to the hospital. Though the MO diagnosed inflamed ear, I did not feel confident with his answer. First, the otoscope did not appear to be in a tip top condition as I saw the MO checking it many times and later he brought it out of the clinic. Secondly, when I asked him whether an ear infection could be caused by a recent flu and upper respiratory throat infection (URTI), he said NO NO NO! Before going to the hospital, I had checked a few websites to read up on ear infection and here’s what I gathered:
An ear infection usually is caused by bacteria and often begins after a child has a sore throat, cold, or other upper respiratory infection. If the upper respiratory infection is bacterial, these same bacteria may spread to the middle ear; if the upper respiratory infection is caused by a virus, such as a cold, bacteria may be drawn to the microbe-friendly environment and move into the middle ear as a secondary infection. Because of the infection, fluid builds up behind the eardrum.
So how could the MO have told me that ear infection has no connection with a flu and URTI? My hubs and I both think that he is not a full-fledge doctor.
Anyway, the MO prescribed Cass with Neo Deca ear drops and Nurofen for the pain / fever. I only gave Cass the ear drop but skipped the Nurofen since she had stopped complaining about the pain. I am not too keen in giving my kids oral meds unless absolutely necessary.
The entire night Cass was in a very foul mood and very crabby. This is just so unlike my chatty and lively baby girl, which made me a tad worried. I let her sleep with hubs and I on our king-size bed so that I could monitor her body temperature throughout the night. Today she skipped class. Thank God she has no fever and has since stopped telling me that her right ear hurt. My baby girl is back to her normal mischievous self again today! I shall continue with the ear drops for the next few days.
Ear Infection Information:
How can I tell if my child has an ear infection?
Most ear infections happen to children before they’ve learned how to talk. If your child isn’t old enough to say “My ear hurts,” here are a few things to look for:
Tugging or pulling at the ear(s)
Fussiness and crying
Fever (especially in infants and younger children)
Fluid draining from the ear
Clumsiness or problems with balance
Trouble hearing or responding to quiet sounds
Why are children more likely than adults to get ear infections?
There are several reasons why children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.
Eustachian tubes are smaller and more level in children than they are in adults. This makes it difficult for fluid to drain out of the ear, even under normal conditions. If the eustachian tubes are swollen or blocked with mucus due to a cold or other respiratory illness, fluid may not be able to drain.
A child’s immune system isn’t as effective as an adult’s because it’s still developing. This makes it harder for children to fight infections.
As part of the immune system, the adenoids respond to bacteria passing through the nose and mouth. Sometimes bacteria get trapped in the adenoids, causing a chronic infection that can then pass on to the eustachian tubes and the middle ear.
How does a doctor diagnose a middle ear infection?
The first thing a doctor will do is ask you about your child’s health. Has your child had a head cold or sore throat recently? Is he having trouble sleeping? Is she pulling at her ears? If an ear infection seems likely, the simplest way for a doctor to tell is to use a lighted instrument, called an otoscope, to look at the eardrum. A red, bulging eardrum indicates an infection.
A doctor also may use a pneumatic otoscope, which blows a puff of air into the ear canal, to check for fluid behind the eardrum. A normal eardrum will move back and forth more easily than an eardrum with fluid behind it.
Tympanometry, which uses sound tones and air pressure, is a diagnostic test a doctor might use if the diagnosis still isn’t clear. A tympanometer is a small, soft plug that contains a tiny microphone and speaker as well as a device that varies air pressure in the ear. It measures how flexible the eardrum is at different pressures.
How is an acute middle ear infection treated?
Many doctors will prescribe an antibiotic, such as amoxicillin, to be taken over seven to 10 days. Your doctor also may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or eardrops, to help with fever and pain. (Because aspirin is considered a major preventable risk factor for Reye’s syndrome, a child who has a fever or other flu-like symptoms should not be given aspirin unless instructed to by your doctor.)
If your doctor isn’t able to make a definite diagnosis of OM and your child doesn’t have severe ear pain or a fever, your doctor might ask you to wait a day to see if the earache goes away. Sometimes ear pain isn’t caused by infection, and some ear infections may get better without antibiotics. Using antibiotics cautiously and with good reason helps prevent the development of bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics.
If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, it’s important to make sure your child takes it exactly as prescribed and for the full amount of time. Even though your child may seem better in a few days, the infection still hasn’t completely cleared from the ear. Stopping the medicine too soon could allow the infection to come back. It’s also important to return for your child’s follow-up visit, so that the doctor can check if the infection is gone.
How long will it take my child to get better?
Your child should start feeling better within a few days after visiting the doctor. If it’s been several days and your child still seems sick, call your doctor. Your child might need a different antibiotic. Once the infection clears, fluid may still remain in the middle ear but usually disappears within three to six weeks.
Can ear infections be prevented?
Currently, the best way to prevent ear infections is to reduce the risk factors associated with them. Here are some things you might want to do to lower your child’s risk for ear infections.
Vaccinate your child against the flu. Make sure your child gets the influenza, or flu, vaccine every year.
It is recommended that you vaccinate your child with the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). The PCV13 protects against more types of infection-causing bacteria than the previous vaccine, the PCV7. If your child already has begun PCV7 vaccination, consult your physician about how to transition to PCV13. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children under age 2 be vaccinated, starting at 2 months of age. Studies have shown that vaccinated children get far fewer ear infections than children who aren’t vaccinated. The vaccine is strongly recommended for children in daycare.
Wash hands frequently. Washing hands prevents the spread of germs and can help keep your child from catching a cold or the flu.
Avoid exposing your baby to cigarette smoke. Studies have shown that babies who are around smokers have more ear infections.
Never put your baby down for a nap, or for the night, with a bottle.
Don’t allow sick children to spend time together. As much as possible, limit your child’s exposure to other children when your child or your child’s playmates are sick.
Ear drops for Cassandra :