If a baby is fussy, cries more than usual and tugs at their ear, they may have an ear infection. Otis media or ear infection is a painful inflammation of the middle ear. Most middle ear infections occur between the eardrum and Eustachian tube, which connects the ears, nose, and throat. This infection usually follows a cold and is usually caused by bacteria and viruses. Inflammation and swelling of the Eustachian tube are caused due to infection. Fluid builds behind the eardrum and the tube narrows, causing pressure and pain.
Children have shorter and narrower Eustachian tube than adults. Also, their tubes are more horizontal, so it is easier for them to get them blocked. Of all children with ear infections, 5 to 10 percent of them experience a ruptured eardrum. This usually heals within a week or two and rarely causes permanent damage to the child’s hearing.
- Pain medication
Ear infections are usually painful and the doctor might suggest ibuprofen or a paracetamol for minimizing the pain. Fever caused by the infection can also be controlled with these medicines.
- Wait and watch
No medications might be prescribed and the doctor might wait for the ear infection to heal on its own in a week or two. The wait and watch method places trust on the body’s immune system to work well on its own.
- Warm compress
Try placing a warm, moist compress over the child’s ear for 10-15 minutes, which may help in reducing the pain.
If the baby is older than six months, acetaminophen (Tylenol) may help relieve pain and fever. The medication should be used as recommended by the doctor and as per the instructions on the pain medicine bottle. For best results, try giving the dose before bed.
- Warm oil
If there is no fluid draining from the child’s ear and a ruptured eardrum isn’t suspected, place a few drops of room temperature or slightly warmed olive oil or sesame oil in the affected ear. This is helpful for ear infections.
- Stay hydrated
Offer the child fluids often. Swallowing can help one open up the Eustachian tube so that the trapped fluid can drain.
- Elevate the baby’s head
Slightly elevate the crib at the head to improve the baby’s sinus damage. Do not place pillows under the baby’s head. A pillow should be placed under the mattress.
- Homeopathic eardrops
Homeopathic eardrops containing extracts of ingredients such as garlic, mullein, lavender, calendula in olive oil may help relieve inflammation and pain associated with ear infections.
If the child has fever of 102 degrees or higher and has moderate to severe pain in the affected ear for more than 48 hours, this method is employed. If the child is less than six months old and has a severe middle ear infection, antibiotics will be the first treatment.
So, watch out for symptoms of ear infection in your child and consult a doctor immediately for the fastest recovery.