What is an Ear Infection?
Part of knowing how to treat ear infection in toddlers is understanding what the condition means. When we say “ear infection,” we are talking about the sudden infection in the middle ear. If you’re wondering where your middle ear is, it’s the space behind the eardrum.
While ear infection goes away on its own, it’s still important to bring your toddler to the doctor. The doctor will probably give your baby some medication to ease the pain, and if needed, some antibiotics.
Finally, the doctor will confirm when the infection has cleared.
The Causes of Ear Infection
Before knowing how to treat ear infection in toddlers, it’s important to first understand its causes.
Acute Otitis Media
In most children, acute otitis media occurs after a respiratory condition. For instance, a toddler can develop an ear infection after having a cold. This happens in two ways:
- The virus or bacteria will reach the middle ear by passing through the Eustachian tube. This is the tube connects the back of the throat to the ear.
- The virus or bacteria can cause swelling in the Eustachian tube. When the tube is swollen, the fluids in the middle ear, which are normally drained, become stuck. Viruses or bacteria will infect the blocked fluid, ultimately causing the infection.
It also doesn’t help that the tube in children is shorter and less sloped compared to adults. This makes it easier for the tube to get clogged as the fluids do not drain easily; it also allows bacteria and viruses to enter the middle more easily.
Otitis Media with Effusion
Acute otitis media with effusion typically happens after acute ear infection.
In this instance, the infection has disappeared and the symptoms have cleared out. However, the fluid remains stuck in the ear. Your doctor can use a special instrument in order to examine the ear drum and determine if there is any leftover fluid.
The confined fluid can cause temporary deafness and will most likely make your toddler more prone to another infection.
Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media
In this condition, the ear infection didn’t clear despite treatment or there is a persistent recurrence of fluid even without an infection.
This is characterized by continuous middle ear drainage for more than 2-6 weeks. What’s dangerous about this is it can form a hole in the eardrum. A chronic suppurative ear infection is a common cause of hearing impairment, poor scholastic performance, and disability. Although rare, it can also cause fatal infections.
Understanding how to treat ear infection in toddlers will increase your chances of preventing its dangers.
How to Spot Ear Infection in Toddlers
Since we want to learn how to treat ear infection in toddlers, we must know when to spot it first. You can tell that your child has an ear infection if they: