The ear infection is caused by a
stuffy runny nose and the baby cannot "pop" open the eustacian tube to get air
in the middle ear and the fact that babies have low antibodies. Infections are not caused
by getting water in the ear, wind blowing in the ear, or anything the parent does.
Decongestants, cold meds do not help prevent them. Nothing the parent does causes them and
nothing the parent does can prevent them. So get off the guilt wagon!
You can help the pain by giving
pain medications (see dosage web page), by keeping the head elevated (sleep in big chair
with their head on your shoulder.) (Did he say sleep?), by putting the ear next to
the warmth of your body, or luke warm heating pad. What really can help
is to put a few drops of luke warm olive oil in their ears.
Ear infections are not
contagious but the green runny nose is contagious. Half of the children with pink eye have
an ear infection. (Pink eye causes the white of the eyes to be red bloodshot. Just having
green mucous in the corner of the eyes is not pink eye.) And many infants
rub or pull on their ears. If they are sleeping fine, acting fine, eating,
and no fever, then it is not an ear infection. If it is such a mild
infection that there is no fever or crying in pain, then I would just as soon
let their own immunity take care of it. And 70% will go away without
antibiotics. So don't be afraid that you might be missing an ear
infection. If it is that mild, I would rather not over do
antibiotics and let them take care of it.
Treatment of Ear Infections
Ear infections can be painful.
The pain may be worse when your child is sucking on the bottle or lying down. You may
notice your child crying more or tugging on his/her ears. Tylenol (acetaminophen) or
Motrin (ibuprofen) may help relieve the pain temporarily. Check with the dosage web page.
If your child is given an
antibiotic, be sure to give this exactly as you were directed. Even if your child is
feeling better in a few days, be sure to give all of the doses to your child to make sure
the infection has been treated completely.
It usually takes 24 to 48 hours
after you start the antibiotics for your child to feel better. If your child still has a
lot of pain and or if he/she still has fever 48 hours after starting the antibiotic, call
the office or come into the emergency room.
Call Your Doctor Or
The Emergency Room/Urgent Care Clinic If:
Your child appears lethargic or
you cant do anything to make him/her happy.
Your child still has a fever or
is not better after 48 hours of antibiotics.
Your child is getting worse.
You have any other concerns.
If your child has very frequent
ear infections ( six times a year), you and your doctor may want to talk about having PE
tubes inserted in the ears.
PE Tubes Surgery????
American Academy of Otolaryngology came out with
some recommendations on who should get PE tubes in their ears for fluid or
infections in the middle ears. They mention that many children get tubes who do
not need them. Around 670,000 PE tube surgeries are done each year. By age 3
yrs. old around one in 15 children have had this surgery. I am conservative in
medications, X-rays and surgery. Many children get tubes who have only had a
few infections. If we average ear infections, they typically have 3-4 the
first winter, 1-2 the second winter, and rarely have them the third winter.
Around 2-3 years of age their immune system matures and their muscles in their
throat are able to “yawn and pop open their ears” letting the fluid out.
Parents do not cause the infections. The fluid does not decrease the hearing
significantly in most children and does not slow down their speech. But around
18-36 months of age many kids start talking and the parents think it is because
they put tubes in their ears. My opinion is that if the infant is having ear
infections in the summer when they should have stopped, or if we are not able to
clear up the infections at all, then put in tubes.