Story by: Kim Huston on July 8, 2019
Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections. If your child says his or her ear hurts, you may wonder: Could it be an ear infection? Middle ear infection (otitis media) is the most common type of ear infection. While some symptoms are easy for parents to spot, others may be more difficult to identify, especially in infants and toddlers. What are the symptoms of a middle ear infection, and what should you do if you suspect your child has one?
Otitis media is when the air-filled space behind the eardrum, containing the tiny vibrating bones of the ear, becomes infected by bacteria or a virus. Children often get a middle ear infection with another illness, such as cold, flu or allergies. This can be due to congestion and swelling in the nasal passages, throat and eustachian tubes (tubes that connect the middle ears to the back of the throat).
Some of the more common signs and symptoms of middle ear infection in children include:
You will also want to watch for some of these signs:
Read more: Swimmer’s ear vs. ear infection and how to spot the difference
More rare symptoms of ear infection include:
Find a pediatrician in your neighborhood
The symptoms of an ear infection are shared by a number of conditions. It’s important to get a correct diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. Call your child’s provider if:
“While parents cannot necessarily prevent their child from getting an ear infection, there are a few things they can do to reduce their child’s risk of developing one,” said Elyssa R. Yantis, D.O., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Dixie. “This includes keeping their child up to date on routine vaccinations, breastfeeding, and decreasing their child’s exposure to secondhand smoke.”