An ear infection is a bacterial infection of the middle ear (the space behind the eardrum). The main symptom is earache and muffled hearing. A fever is present with almost half of ear infections, due to pressure and bulging of the eardrum fro trapped, infected fluid.
In 5-10% of children, the pressure causes the eardrum to rupture and drain yellow or cloudy fluid. This tear usually heals over the next week. Permanent damage to the ear or to hearing is very rare.
- Antibiotics: We will prescribe an antibiotic to kill the bacteria that cause the infection. Try to remember to taka all doses. Even though your child will feel better in a few days, give the antibiotic until it is completely gone to keep the ear infection from flaring up again.
- Pain/Fever: Tylenol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can be given for pain or fever >100.5. A lukewarn bath may help with fever symptoms. You may place a warm, moist compress against the ear for temporary pain relief.
- General Recommendations: Encourage fluids. In older children, a decongestant may be beneficial. Your child can go outside and does not need to cover the ears. Ear infections are not contagious. You should return in 2-3 weeks to recheck the ear to make sure the infections has cleared.
Pediatric Specialists of Plano