Has your child spent a lot of time touching the area near their ear recently? They may be suffering from an ear infection. Most common in children under six, ear infections can cause children to become short-tempered and experience some pain in the region of the ear. Since they may not be able to explain what is wrong with their words, your child may exhibit more physical symptoms to convey what is bothering them. If your child exhibits signs for more than a couple of days, bring them to your local AFC Urgent Care Center for diagnosis and medical treatment.
Causes of an Ear Infection
An ear infection forms when the Eustachian tube, located beneath the middle ear, is unable to properly remove fluid produced in the eardrum. When the tube swells, it blocks the pathway for fluid to follow, leaving the fluid trapped for bacteria to form. As the bacteria grow, an infection will develop, causing the child to feel pain and stuffiness. As a child’s body is still growing, ear infections are more common in younger people: the Eustachian tube is shorter in children and lies horizontally. As you grow and your body changes, the Eustachian tube expands and moves to its permanent, angled position. With the tube at more of an angle, draining fluid is easier, making ear infections less common but still possible in adults.
Symptoms of Ear Infections
It may take longer to determine whether or not your child has an ear infection due to the inability for them to explain exactly what is wrong. The symptoms you notice may be more physical than other conditions, including constantly pulling and scratching the infected ear, mild fever and loss of appetite. Your child might exhibit problems hearing you speak in a quieter voice, not responding in a conversation. Due to increased pressure on the ear, your child may exhibit problems sleeping due to the pain and may become crankier as the infection goes on.
Getting Treated for an Ear Infection
After diagnosing an ear infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to relieve your child’s symptoms, including reducing the swelling in the Eustachian tube. Symptoms should subside in a couple of days. If ear infections prove to be a more consistent problem for your child, your doctor may suggest inserting tubes into their ears in a minor surgical procedure. The addition of tubes will allow fluid to drain and reduce the probability of ear infections occurring.