Toddler Ear Infection Prevention, Symptoms & When to go to the ERs
Ear infections in toddlers are extremely common, and they can develop at any moment. Often, they happen during the weekend or late at night, where getting a hold of your pediatrician isn’t so easy.
If your little one develops symptoms of an ear infection, here’s how to make sure you get them the best medical care.
Preventing Ear Infections
The best way to deal with an ear infection is to prevent it from happening. Here are some steps you can take to help decrease the risk of your little one developing an ear infection.
- Vaccinate your child: Vaccinations help reduce the risk of bacterial infections, including ear infections. So, make sure to keep up to date with your children’s vaccination schedule
- Breastfeed your baby: Breast milk provides essential antibodies that may help reduce the risk of an ear infection and other illnesses. When feeding your baby, place them in a sit-up position to prevent milk and other fluids from flowing into the middle ear.
- Wash your hands: Infections result from exposure to viruses and bacteria. The best way to protect your child is by frequently washing your hands and theirs with soap and water for a full 20 seconds.
- Stay away from sick people: If possible, try to keep your children away from others who are ill.
- Beware of secondhand smoke: Exposure to secondhand smoke raises the risk of ear infections, lower respiratory infections, other respiratory problems in children.
Symptoms of an Ear Infection in Babies and Toddlers
About 50% of children will have had at least one ear infection by their second birthday. But because they may not be able to express what they are feeling, it’s important to know what symptoms to look out for so you can get them the help they need.
The best telltale sign of an ear infection is a pain in or around the ear. However, that is not the only symptom. The following signs will help you determine if their symptoms are those of an ear infection.
- Pulling or tugging at their ear
- Your child is inconsolable, irritable, and continues to cry
- They have difficulty sleeping
- They have a fever
- You notice fluid draining from their ear
- You see, they are having a hard time hearing
- Loss of balance
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
When to go to the ER
Your child needs immediate medical attention when:
- They develop a high fever that won’t go down with medication
- They are clearly in severe pain
- They become lethargic – you have a hard time waking them up, they are slow to respond, or seem unusually inactive or sleepy
- They have trouble eating or drinking or refuse to do so
- They are dehydrated – They are not urinating normally, they don’t shed tears when crying, or you notice their lips are dry cracked
- You see bloody or pus-like discharge coming out of their ears
At Altus Emergency Centers, we have pediatric examining rooms designed to make the experience of a visit to the ER less scary.
Our doctors and nurses will take care of your child as if it were their own and help get them healthy again.