I recently noticed my toddler tugging his left ear. Although he had been cranky the whole morning, this quickly got my attention that something was wrong. After some analysis, I realized that they actually have an ear infection. Well, research reports indicate that more than 50 percent of babies usually suffer from ear infections before they reach their first birthday. So, if you are a new mom, this is one of the hurdles that you should be prepared to handle. Ear infections are caused by various factors, but they are more prevalent in male kids. Besides exposure to lots of germs, having a family member who has a history of ear infections can greatly increase your child’s probability. But how can you tell if your kiddo has an ear infection?
Common Signs and Symptoms of Ear Infections
Toddlers and infants don’t have proper communication skills so as a parent, detecting an ear infection isn’t easy. One of the things that I noticed with my young one is that he kept tugging his left ear. But apart from this, there are other signs of ear infections. So, what are some of the things that you should watch out for?
Note that ear infections are usually painful. So, your toddler or infant may first start displaying increased crankiness. If they are upset when you put them down, it could be because of this condition.
Fever is usually a sign that the body is trying to fight and combat the effects of an infection. So, if your baby’s temperature is high i.e. between 99F and 104F, then it could be because of an ear problem.
Difficulty Staying Asleep
When the baby is lying own, pressure usually builds up in the ears. A few days leading to this diagnosis, my baby’s sleeping pattern had changed but I thought it was as a result of weather changes. However, I later realized it was because of this condition. So, if they have an ear infection, the increased level of pressure will make it difficult for them to fall or remain asleep.
All five senses act in coordination. When one sense is affected, it ends up affecting all the other senses. So, when your baby’s sense of hearing is disturbed by an infection, there are high chances that they will end up with reduced appetite. They might even end up with digestive issues such as diarrhea.
Ear infections can cause extreme pain in babies. But being a veteran mom comes with lots of experience. While my baby’s condition was painful, I simply used home remedies which proved to be effective. Some home-based treatment options which can ease this kind of infection include:
This is my all-time favorite for a number of issues because it’s easy, effective, and convenient. To treat ear infections, simply place a warm compress over the baby’s ear for around 10 minutes.
Note: study the baby’s body language and how they respond to the warm compress so that you don’t end up hurting them further.
Elevating the Baby’s Head
By elevating the baby’s crib, you can improve pus or fluid drainage in case they are suffering from sinus infections.
Note: avoid using a pillow beneath the baby’s head. However, you can place it under the mattress.
Hydrating the Baby
One of the best ways of opening the Eustachian tubes and enhance the drainage of the sinus is by hydrating the baby. Give them fluids more often so that the trapped fluid in the Eustachian tube can flow out.
These oil drops usually contain components such as lavender, garlic, calendula, and mullein all which help to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation.
When to Get Concerned
Ear infections are common in toddlers. But in case you notice that your baby has trouble hearing, then you should seek medical attention. Additionally, if you see fluid or pus coming out of your baby’s ear (yellow, green, or white fluid), call your doctor immediately. Note that if your baby has been diagnosed with ear infections but the symptoms still persist after 4-5 days, kindly consult with your doctor again.
How to Prevent Ear Infections
As much as ear infections can’t be successfully prevented, you still need to exercise caution in order to lessen your baby’s chances of developing this condition.
Breast milk has a lot of nutrients and antibodies which help to nourish the body and fight free radicals. To reduce the chances of ear infection and other medical conditions, breastfeed your young one for six months or more.
Proper Feeding Position
If you are bottle feeding your baby, always hold them in a semi-upright position. This helps to reduce the likelihood of the formula flowing into the Eustachian tubes. Do not use bottle props to feed your baby.
Ear infections can also be caused by a weak immune system. So, to ensure that your baby is on the safe side, make sure that they are immunized. Some of the vital vaccinations include pneumococcal and flu shots.