Ear Infection can occur in the middle ear. Middle ear refers to the small part of the ear located just behind the eardrum. It is possible for this part of the ear to be infected when there are germs from the nose and throat that get trapped in this area. This condition is called middle ear infection or acute otitis media.
The small tube connecting the ear to the throat can swell up during a cold, and when this happens the tube blocks and traps fluid inside the ear. In this area, germs breed rapidly and cause an infection. Children are more prone to ear infection than adults because their tubes are smaller and are more easily blocked.
The primary symptom of ear infection is earache, which can range from mild to excruciating. It's easy to detect if a baby or child is having an earache. A baby would be fussy and cry a lot. Children would pull at their ears and have trouble sleeping. It's also possible for them to have a fever. Observing the actions of your child would enable you to determine if the source of his distress is his ear.
Another common symptom of ear infection is a thick yellow fluid coming out from the ear. When the infection causes the eardrum to burst, a fluid flows out. This is not as serious as most parents think and should not be a cause for panic. It actually makes the pain go away and the eardrum would eventually heal by itself.
Sometimes, the fluid buildup in the ear doesn't cause infection. But a child may complain about his ears feeling plugged. This would also make it difficult for him to hear but this eventually goes back to normal when the fluid drains away, which is usually after a few weeks.
Other symptoms of this health problem include loss of appetite, vomiting, crankiness, popping or ringing of ears, inattention, balance problems, and dizziness. Symptoms of middle ear infection typically start within a week after a cold or any other upper respiratory infection. It's also important to note that some children who have middle ear infection do not experience any of these symptoms, which is why it is imperative to bring your child to the doctor for routine checkup just to be sure.
When you bring your child to a doctor, he will discuss about your child's symptoms. He will also look into the ears of your child using a special tool with light that would enable him to see if there is any presence of fluid inside the ear. While this is not uncomfortable, some children might feel squirmy during the process. Reassure your kid that it is all right.
Most ear infections go away without any treatment. But if you want to relieve the symptoms, you can give your child over-the-counter pain relievers. If not, you can apply a warm compress on the ear and have him rest fully. Your doctor may also give eardrops to ease your child's earache. Proper hand washing and not exposing your child to secondhand smoke are two important preventive measures for middle ear infection.