Dealing With Ear Infections
Managing childhood ear infections is almost an inevitable part of parenthood- these common infections happen to most children at some point. But is it totally necessary to prescribe antibiotics, or is this earache best left alone?
Is It An Infection?
The truth is, not every earache is actually an infection. Sometimes, a regular old cold can cause an earache in children, making them uncomfortable and more than a little bit whiney, but not indicating an infection.
Earaches can also be caused by a virus, so how do you know if antibiotics are needed?
An infection tends to cause a higher fever than a common cold or virus, so watch your kid’s temperature to be sure it isn’t rising too high. Infections also come on more suddenly, causing quick pain and inflammation that seems to come out of the blue.
You also need to check to see if there’s any discharge or bright redness in the eardrum- this can be checked by your paediatrician and can often indicate infection.
Treat The Pain
Although antibiotics can sometimes speed up healing, you’ll often find that regular doses of Tylenol or ibuprofen will make your child feel better. You can also find eardrops in your local pharmacy that may help.
Play A Waiting Game
While you might feel in a rush to get a prescription to help your child, doctors recommend that you wait a little while before jumping into antibiotics. As it can be difficult to tell whether an infection is really present, if you give it a couple days you may find that the earache clears up on its own.
If you’re not sure what to do, you could get a prescription for the antibiotics and then give it a day or two before you begin giving it to your child. If things seem to be suddenly getting worse, you’ll have the medicine to hand, but you can also avoid jumping into the treatment and risking side effects and antibiotic resistance.