Babies are very tender and also sensitive to their surroundings and thus, they are vulnerable to diseases and infections around, more easily. Ear infection is one such infection that is common in kids and is generally known to follow a cold or other ENT issues.
The primary cause of ear infection is virus and bacteria. Ears make fluid all the time; this fluid builds up behind the eardrum and gets infected. It starts accumulating there making a life form of bacteria. Such bacteria lead to inflammation of the middle area of the ear.
There are many other causes of ear infections in babies, such as:
- Horizontal angled placement of the Eustachian tube, as it is still in a development phase
- Different kinds of food Allergies
- Gut infections
- A wrongly aligned head or neck portion
Types of Ear Infections
Swimmer’s Ear (acute external otitis or otitis externa)
- An infection of the outer ear canal, which is the canal that runs from your ear to your eardrum.
- Usually caused by water which is left in the ear after swimming, or after any other activity where the ear is submerged. Bacteria is able to grow and thrive in the moist environment within your ear canal, causing an infection.
- Damage to the lining of the ear canal, such as from cotton swabs or fingers, can also cause swimmer’s ear.
- You can purchase eardrops to treat swimmer’s ear at your local pharmacy. Your doctor may also prescribe eardrops.
- It’s recommended to avoid submerging your ear in water until your ear is healed.
Middle Ear Infection (otitis media)
- An infection of the middle ear, which is located behind the eardrum.
- Usually occurs when a bacterial or viral infection such as a cold causes mucus to build up in the middle ear. Bacteria is able to grow in the trapped fluid, and in turn infects the surrounding area.
- Treat symptoms with a warm compress to the outside of the ear and painkillers to ease pain and discomfort.
- Antibiotics or antivirals may be prescribed by your doctor depending on the severity and cause of the infection.
Inner Ear Infection (otitis interna and labrynthitis)
- A rare but potentially serious infection of the inner ear which can cause balance problems and potential hearing loss.
- Usually triggered by bacteria or a virus, but can also be caused by complications from a middle ear infection.
- Requires medical attention to treat. A doctor may prescribe antihistamines, steroids, antivirals, and medicines to relieve nausea and vertigo.
Ear Infections in Children
Children are more likely to develop ear infections than adults. This is largely because since their Eustachian tubes – the tubes which allow air into the middle ear – are smaller than those in adults.
If your child is too young to tell you that their ear hurts, don’t worry. You can still identify an ear infection by watching for the following signs:
- Tugging at ear
- Fluid draining or discharge from ear
- Difficulty sleeping or restlessness at night
- Abnormal amount of crying
- Difficulty hearing quiet or soft sounds
- Trouble with balance
If you suspect your child has an ear infection, you have two options:
- You can take a wait and see approach, as most ear infections clear up on their own and do not require medication. Over the course of 48 hours, observe and see if your child’s symptoms improve. Treat the pain and discomfort with painkillers and warm compresses. If symptoms do not improve, or if they worsen, then you need to see a doctor.
- You can take your child directly to the pediatrician. From there, your pediatrician can determine the best course of action.
Only you know what is best for your child. If you have any doubts at all, you should schedule an appointment with a pediatrician.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
External and middle ear infections usually do not cause complications. All the same, it’s important to know what symptoms to look for in case an ear infection worsens or spreads, in which case it will require medical attention.
- Pain and inflammation are normal for an ear infection. Seek medical attention if:
- Pus or discharge leaks from ear
- Symptoms do not improve after 2 – 3 days
- You have hearing loss
- You are experiencing vertigo, especially with a temperature of 101° or more
- You have fainted
- You feel weak or paralyzed
- Your speech is slurred
- You are experiencing convulsions
If you or a loved one has experienced any of these symptoms, contact Florida Medical Clinic! Our Otolaryngology department is experienced and knowledgeable about the inner workings of your ear. Open seven days a week and on holidays, our Urgent Care center is always ready for the unexpected.
10 Best Infant Ear Infection Natural Remedies
Below are some natural ear infection remedies for babies that you can use without visiting the doctor:
Garlic is found to be very effective in killing bacteria than antibiotics, and when garlic is accompanied with mullein, it forms the best baby ear pain home remedy. Garlic is known for its immunity providing capabilities and mullein for its ability to ease the pain. Put 2-3 drops of garlic and mullein oil in your baby’s ear and repeat it 3 times a day for better relief.
Fluids also help in treating ear infections in babies. If your baby is still in the breastfeeding stage, consider feeding them more often than usual, as antibodies present in breastmilk can prevent your baby from an ear infection.
Hot compresses on the outer portion of the ear can help relieve ear pain due to an ear infection. A hot water bottle, a heating pack, or even a cloth dipped in hot water can be gently applied on to your infant’s ear to make their pain go away. Though, one should be careful regarding the temperature of the water or the pack before applying it, as babies have sensitive skin.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
Mix warm water and peroxide equally. Put 2-3 drops in your ear and let it rest for 15 seconds. Later, tilt your kid’s head to help the liquid drain away. Repeat the procedure twice on a daily basis for better results.
Massage is another easy and convenient option to assure normal circulation and fluid drainage from a baby’s ears. Gently massage on your ward’s external ear area or their neck in the downward direction and give inward pressure from the back of the area towards the front area of their cheek. Repeat massaging at least twice a day using essential oils such as rosemary, lavender, tea tree or even the eucalyptus oil.
6. Baking Soda Rinse
Rinsing your child’s ear with baking soda can treat a prevalent ear infection. Mix a few drops of baking soda in water and spray the liquid on the ear’s surface with the help of a syringe. After rinsing it with baking soda, put some drops of essential oil into the ear such as garlic or lavender oil.
7. Echinacea and Goldenseal
Echinacea and goldenseal are two herbs that greatly help in preventing ear infections. 2ml of the mixture of these herbs is recommended for children, at least 3 times a day for treating ear infections and build immunity. These two herbs fight bacterial infections.
8. Chamomile Oil to Wash the Infected Ear
Chamomile oil is a good option for treating the ear infection in babies. Put 2-3 drops of chamomile oil into the ear using a dropper and let it settle for about 5-10 minutes. After that tilt the child’s head and let the oil drain out.
9. Onions and Garlic
Onions have antibacterial properties and are also said to provide pain relief and even promotes circulation. Chop the onion and microwave it to make it hot and soft. Once the onion is hot, wrap it in a cloth and place it gently on the child’s ear for 10-15 minutes. Repeat the process, and if the pain doesn’t seem to go away, put 2-3 drops of warm garlic oil using a dropper into the ear for better relief.
10. Otitis Externa
Otitis externa or the inflammation of the ear canal occurs due to ear’s contact with water. This infection is also known as swimmer’s ear and generally occurs due to excess moisture present in the ear’s canal. It can be treated by rinsing the child’s ear with hydrogen peroxide or diluted rubbing alcohol.
The listed home remedies for ear infection in babies will help him fight the infection and provide relief to a great extent. In case the problem continues, consider consulting a doctor for further medical assistance.
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