Nearly all children will experience an ear infection at some point. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of children have at least one ear infection by the age of three. Although it's a common ailment and the treatment is quite simple in most cases, it can still be painful and distressing. If you think your child has an ear infection, visit your Gaithersburg, MD at Prime Pediatrics right away.
What Is An Ear Infection?
Ear infections typically involve inflammation of the middle ear--the area just behind the eardrum. The tissues become swollen and fluid becomes trapped behind the eardrum, causing sensations of pressure, pain, and discomfort.
Left untreated, ear infections can lead to a variety of complications that can threaten a child’s health and development, including:
- Hearing loss
- Ruptured eardrum
- Delayed language development
- Infection of the inner ear bones
- Abnormal tissue growth behind the eardrum
Thankfully, these severe complications of ear infections are rare, especially with prompt treatment.
Signs of Ear Infection
While older children will be able to tell you when their ear hurts, younger children may display a variety of signs that can alert you to their discomfort.
- Irritability when feeding: Suckling causes pressure changes in the ear that can aggravate your child's pain.
- Trouble sleeping: If your child is having an unusual amount of trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, ear pain may be the cause.
- Tugging on the ear: Frequent touching or pulling on the ear that hurts is a common signal of pain in pre-verbal children.
- Fever: Although not all ear infections are associated with fevers, a fever is a sign that the body is fighting infection.
- Drainage: An infection may cause drainage from the ears, possibly with an unusual color or odor.
- Difficulty hearing: Inflammation in the ear can lead to difficulty hearing and listening.
The only way to diagnose an ear infection is to have your pediatrician examine your child's ear in person. If you suspect your child has an ear infection, visit Prime Pediatrics in Gaithersburg, MD for quick treatment of their pain. While the condition is common and easily resolved, getting your child out of pain is our top priority. Request your appointment now or call (301) 977-2440 today.