There are a few clear indications that your child may have an ear infection, and they shouldn’t be ignored. An urgent exam and treatment are recommended if there are any signs of concern. These infections are very common in very young children because of their yet-to-be-fully-developed ears and exposure to harmful bacteria. Find out more about common ear infections in children and how they’ll be treated by a San Antonio, TX, pediatric ENT at Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center.
Ear Infections in Children
Approximately three out of four children are diagnosed with ear infections each year according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, so it is quite common. It is usually caused by bad bacteria invading the inner tissues of the ear, making it painful and irritated. Acute otitis media is the typical type of ear infection that children are diagnosed with. Infected fluid fills the area behind the eardrum, causing earache, redness, and fever. Serous otitis media is when non-infected fluid is in the ear. Chronic otitis media is a recurrent condition that could affect a child’s ability to fight off infections. Your San Antonio pediatric ENT will check your child's ear for signs of fluid and evaluate his or her hearing ability.
Ear Infection Causes and Risks
It’s likely that an ear infection in a child is due to allergies, exposure to cigarette smoke, or simply being around another infected child. Some ear problems may be caused by a foreign object that has been lodged inside of the ear canal. Undiagnosed and untreated, an ear infection presents a number of risks. Fluid in the ear may reduce the child’s ability to hear, which can affect his or her performance in school. A chronic case could cause permanent hearing loss in serious cases.
Treating a Pediatric Ear Infection
In some cases, the best treatment is to have the infection officially diagnosed by your San Antonio pediatric ENT and then monitor the case, allowing time for it to heal on its own. Some ear infections clear up on their own after a while. In other cases, a course of antibiotic medicine is required. Pressure Equalization (PE) tubes or ear tube surgery may be necessary in chronic cases. If your doctor discovers an object inside of the ear or trapped water after swimming, it will be safely removed in the office.
Have Your Child Examined
If you’re concerned that your child is complaining of ear discomfort, or struggling to hear normal sounds, don’t hesitate to visit Dr. Christine Gilliam, a pediatric ENT at Everyone's ENT & Sinus Center in San Antonio, TX, for a checkup. Call (210) 647-3838 today to schedule your appointment.