Among children, an ear infection is a cause for concern for parents for good reasons. Known as acute otitis media, an ear infection often means painful sensations in and around the affected ear due to the buildup of fluids and inflammation of the tissues in the middle ear.
Children will throw fits, run a fever, and be lethargic because of it. But these aren’t just the issues – when ear infections are left untreated, especially when these are of a persistent or frequent nature, serious complications including hearing loss are possible.
The bottom line: Always listen to your doctor’s recommendations about the treatment of ear infections in your kids. Here are a few important things to know about it.
Wait and See First
Not all ear infections require medical interventions but it makes sense to have your child examined by his pediatrician in case a bacterial or viral ear infection is suspected. The doctor will decide whether to prescribe appropriate medications for the treatment of the ear infection depending on several factors, such as age, symptoms, and medical history.
In most cases, the ear infections can clear up on their own without treatment, usually between one and two weeks, especially with the appropriate homecare methods. In fact, the symptoms can improve within two days or so, thus, the wait-and-see approach of doctors.
But don’t wait for your child to experience severe pain and for his affected ear to ooze fluid before seeking a medical consultation. Ear infections in children shouldn’t be dismissed so easily considering its complications, not to mention that these can be treated with antibiotics.
Medical Intervention May be Necessary
Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic therapy when homecare methods didn’t work or when the symptoms worsened. For example, if your one-year old child suffers from moderate to severe pain in the affected ear for at least 48 hours and/or he has a high fever (39 degrees Celsius), then amoxicillin may be prescribed.
But even when your child seems better – no more pain, no more fever, or no more fluid oozing out of the affected ear – you must continue giving him his antibiotic. Otherwise, your child’s ear infection will not completely clear up, thus, it can recur soon.
While the antibiotic therapy is being administered, your child can also benefit from effective pain management methods. These can include a warm compress placed over the affected ear and pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.