You find your baby absolutely gleeful and active in the morning. But suddenly are there some abnormalities in her/his behavior? Is the baby crying continuously, tugging of ear, irritation etc.? In such a scenario, you can suspect an ear infection in your baby and should consult your pediatrician.
Ear infection in infants occurs due to various proven reasons. Presence of certain microorganisms like bacteria or virus which create a fluid like substance in the Eustachian tubes i.e. a narrow passage connecting the middle ear to the back of the nose. This is very common among infants due to their lower immunity and resistance towards microbes. Moreover, babies are prone to ear infection as their Eustachian passages are much narrower than adults. This provides the microorganisms a passage to travel easily to the middle ear and also easy trapping of fluid. In case of accumulation of infected fluid or pus like substances near the periphery of eardrum, an ear infection can occur in infants.
It is a real difficult task to find out when your baby is having some infection in her/his ears. Babies who have not started talking will definitely not be able to communicate their pain easily and new parents may also find it very tricky to understand the signs.
The most common sign for any infection or anything unwell in the baby’s body is crying more than normal. When your baby is crying much more than normal days, is irritable and fussy then you can definitely sense something not very good and is a sign of some health issue with the baby. There are other additional symptoms along with crying and fussiness which you can check to confirm for an ear infection.
Tugging or poking of ears by infants is an important symptom of ear infection. Since infants are very small to understand what exactly is hurting them and communicate it properly, they will simply try pulling their ears so as to find out the location and reason of the pain. Along with pulling of ears, there is fluid drainage from the ears of babies in case of any infection. This fluid is mostly the pus being discharged from the infected area behind the eardrum and will need immediate attention.
Ear infection in infants are accompanied by fever. It can be high or mild fever depending on the severity of the infection. Fever causes loss of appetite and diarrhea. Since, there are harmful microorganisms present in the body, they will definitely put an impact on the digestive tract of your baby affecting her/ his stool and can even cause vomiting in some cases.
Infants can face sleeping and lying problem if they are affected by any type of ear infection. When you put down your baby to sleep and she/he is suffering from some ear infection; then there will be a shift in the pressure of the middle ear. This increases the discomfort for your baby while sleeping or simply lying down and she/he will start wailing. Sometimes, babies become unresponsive to sounds due to infection and cannot even communicate that properly.
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The major types of ear infection in babies are
One of the major causes of ear infection in infants is common cold. We all know babies are almost always prone to common cold, even if treated with utmost care. Your baby is down with cold or cough mostly due to germs or microorganisms i.e. bacteria, viruses etc. and when these germs travel to the middle ear via the Eustachian tube, it causes ear infection.
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Another practice among infants which can cause ear infection is bottle feeding while sleeping or lying down. During this process, there is a high probability of passing of the liquid in the bottle into the ears of your baby. This liquid when enters into the ears can lead to the growth of microorganisms and in turn cause infection.
Treatment for an ear infection is mostly dependent on the severity of the infection and the condition of your baby due to the infection. Usually, your pediatrician will recommend antibiotic ear drops to be given for the infection. Many-a-times it can be an antibiotic to be taken orally also and it is mostly in liquid form for babies. Along with that you can also give pain relief medicines to your baby only on your doctor’s recommendation. It is advisable to make your baby drink a lot of liquids if you are giving a pain killer for relief.
Proper diet and keeping your baby healthy reduce the chances of getting infected with germs, getting down with cold and in turn reduces the chances of ear infection as well. You should try and keep your baby away from smoke which is very dangerous for babies and can cause ear infection.
You can breast feed your baby mostly up to 1 year and avoid feeding much using a bottle. Breast feeding will help in increasing your baby’s immunity. If in case, you are feeding from a bottle, it is advisable to do it in a sitting position of the baby which reduces the chance of flow of liquids into the ears. This will reduce the chances of ear infection. Gradually, as your baby grows you can make a habit of making her/him drink from small sized glasses rather than from feeding bottles.
Vaccines like the pneumococcal vaccine are a must for babies above 2 months of age to prevent ear infection caused by bacteria.
Hence, ear infection is a common problem with infants and are not contagious in nature. You should try and increase the immunity of your baby so as to be less prone to cold, cough and in turn this will also reduce the chances of ear infection in your baby as well. Healthy environment and healthy food are the only way for increasing immunity and giving your baby’s body the strength to fight against all germs causing infection.
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