Article

Ear Infections

Ear infections are common in babies and young children. What do you need to know about preventing them and managing infection?

The ears are connected to the nose by little tubes, also called Eustachian tubes, that let air up into the ear  – this makes sure that the ears work normally. If the nose is very blocked then the opening of these tubes will also be blocked. This will cause pressure changes in the ears and an infection may follow. The infection will cause the eardrum to be red and swollen and your baby will have a high fever and earache. Ear infections can also cause vomiting and diarrhea. Your baby’s sleep will no doubt be disrupted when he has an ear infection.

Effect on feeding

Sucking can be very painful when the ears are infected so your baby will feed poorly and cry when sucking.

What to do

The ear infection often get better without treatment in about 2 days. So control the pain and fever and flush the nose with saline. If the pain and fever have not settled in 2 days then see your doctor because your child will probably need an antibiotic to treat the infection.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if: 

  • the fever and pain have not improved after 2 days on antibiotics
  • yellow sticky fluid starts to leak out of your baby’s ear
  • Your baby’s ear starts to swell

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