Story by: Brittany Burdoine-Lewis on June 1, 2018
My son had his first ear infection when he was 8 months old. We were on vacation in Florida, his first beach vacation, when he spiked a fever of 104. Prior to this, he hadn’t had any ear infections or colds. We knew he had teeth coming in, so we chalked his fever up to teething. But as that first day of vacation wore on, we knew something more was going on. We ended up at the emergency room, where he was diagnosed with an ear infection. The antibiotics worked, and we had a great week in Florida.
Fast forward a few weeks: We are at the pediatrician’s office for another ear infection. And then four more times after that, with an ear infection being diagnosed either at the Norton After Hours Pediatric Care or our pediatrician’s office. That’s six ear infections in seven months! At that point, our pediatrician recommended we see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist — and ear tubes were placed a few weeks later.
If you’re a new parent or you’ve noticed your child has been experiencing recurrent ear infections, here are four questions to ask your pediatrician:
According to Becky S. Carothers, M.D., pediatrician at Norton Children’s Medical Group – Broadway, children who experience three or more ear infections during a six-month period, or four within a year, may be a candidate for ear tubes due to chronic or recurrent ear infections.
Ear infections can be caused by bacteria or a virus, due to fluid behind the eardrum not draining properly. Allergies and colds can be the culprit, blocking the Eustachian tube, which causes fluid to become trapped in the middle ear. When this happens, the fluid becomes infected, resulting in an ear infection diagnosis.
Norton Children’s extends beyond our hospitals. With a network of pediatricians and pediatric specialists and four outpatient centers across the region, the Norton Children’s network has you and your family covered.
“A classic ear infection, also called an acute ear infection, can typically be treated in a healthy child with acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief, as most ear infections can get better without an antibiotic,” said Dr. Carothers.
She noted that an antibiotic would be appropriate treatment if:
If you believe your child is experiencing an ear infection, talk to your pediatrician. He or she can recommend the best course of action.
Luckily, there are ways parents can help reduce the onset of an ear infection.
“Preventive measures include breastfeeding, practicing good hand hygiene, creating a healthy environment and staying up to date on immunizations,” said Dr. Carothers.