ear infection in toddlers three

Ear Infections in Toddlers

Ear infections in toddlers are one of the most common health conditions that are experienced. I’ve been gone for a minute due to my youngest having a pesky ear infection that just won’t quit. It was about a month and a half ago that he developed a cold and then it escalated into a miserable ear infection that has defied all odds against two different antibiotics and a super strong ear drop. 

After five Doctor’s appointments, one chest X-ray, and an unsuccessful attempt at getting blood work we were FINALLY referred to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist. Here’s what I was able to learn about ear infections through this debacle.

Disclosure: I am screaming this from the rooftops, I am NOT a medical professional. This post is not intended to be taken as medical advice. I am a mom with two little boys who happens to have had a lot of experience with ear infections recently and thought I would share some information I have learned.

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What is an ear infection

According to Mayo Clinic, an ear infection, otherwise known as acute otitis media is an infection of the middle ear, the air filled space behind the eardrum. There are actually two subcategories of infection, one that is more of a silent irritant and the other a full blown monster with draining fluid (I know, gross!). Three quarters of kids will get an ear infection by the time they are three years old! While they can happen at any age, they are VERY common in small children due to the fact that the canals aren’t developed yet and are in a more horizontal position. This does not allow fluids to drain properly. On top of that, kids are exposed to all kinds of germy surfaces, whether at daycare, school or play areas, that can expose their underdeveloped immune systems to infection causing bacteria.

The Symptoms

So what are the signs of these annoying son of a gun? Irritability, interrupted sleep (which you guessed it…causes more irritability, cold like symptoms such as; runny nose, cough, and fever. It’s helpful when your little one can communicate what is wrong, but if they cannot, other symptoms to watch out for are trouble hearing, clumsiness, and tugging at the ears.

When To Call The Dr.​

First off go with your motherly instincts. If you feel like something is off, contact a professional just to be safe. And if you do not feel comfortable with that doctor’s diagnosis, don’t feel bad about getting a second opinion. Always go with your gut mama! I had an experience like this in the past month so I feel very strongly about this particular subject. 

Any who, onto the symptoms! If your little one isn’t better within a four day period, call the doctor. Any visible discharge from the ears, pain in both ears, nausea or vomiting, wavering balance or a spiked fever call the doctor. If your child looks like they’re in pain and tells you they have an “ear boo boo” like mine did, call the doctor! 

How It Is Diagnosed

Your health care professional will check health history, go over symptoms and check both ears for any swelling, bulging, or redness, and/or fluid. They have super special tools that can see into the ear drums to verify whether there is in fact an infection or not. They can then decide the appropriate treatment plan or how to move forward.

ear infections in toddlers

If it continues your child may be referred to an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist that can monitor further or recommend placing ear tubes, also known as tympanostomy tubes or ventilation tubes. Just from my experience, Tylenol or Motrin are usually recommended for pain management and then an antibiotic, if they feel it’s necessary. Like I said at the top though, I am not a doctor, so I am just telling you our experiences.

What To Do At Home

Stay on the Dr’s recommended regimen and keep your child hydrated. A warm compress around the ears can provide some relief. I like to provide some extra cookies or treats to lift the spirits a tad, and last but not least, lots of snuggles.  

Ear infections in toddlers are certainly no fun and I hope you don’t have to experience them. But if you do, I hope this can provide some insight into what to look for and what to expect. 

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Toddler ear infections

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