Ear infections are almost as common as common cold among babies especially if they’re aged between 6 months and 2 years old. In most cases, there’s very less you can do to prevent them altogether. They’re actually not a sign of your baby being unhealthy, they’re just a part of the baby’s development. But seeing your baby in pain is heartbreaking, so here are a few things that help you handle your baby's ear infection better.
Bacteria and viruses are the main culprits when it comes to ear infections. When your child has a cold or an allergy, it can cause the eustachian tube to swell. This swelling will cause the fluid to be trapped inside the ear, resulting in a breeding ground for the bacteria.
This is the reason when your child catches a cold, ear infection follows suit. It might also be accompanied by a fever.
Babies have short and horizontal tubes in the ear making it difficult to drain fluid. This tube will grow in length by 3 times as they grow older. Hence, babies are more prone to ear infections than adults.
Your baby can’t exactly go ‘My ears ache, It might be an infection’. So, it is super important that you recognize the symptoms and the signs that point to an ear infection.
1. The most noticeable sign would be a change in your baby’s behavior or mood. She might be irritable and cry more than usual. She might even have trouble sleeping.
2. If your baby is in pain, she might even tug or pull at her ear but this is not a sure shot sign of ear infection.
3. Ear infections can also cause loss of appetite. Babies may experience pain while swallowing or chewing so they will try to avoid having food altogether.
4. Another obvious sign that can only mean ear infection is white or yellowish color fluid discharge from the ears.
5. You may also notice that your child may not be responding to sounds like she usually does.
If you see any or all of the above-mentioned signs then it’s time you take your baby to the doctor and get the required treatment.
In few cases, ear infections will clear up on their own if you give it some time. But in general, your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic. But recent studies show that using antibiotics on a daily basis will only make the bacteria that is causing the ear infection resistant to the antibiotic. This will make it harder to treat your child if the same problem arises again. Sometimes ear infections can occur due to viruses too. Antibiotics are of no use in this scenario.
All of these make up for why your doctor might not just whip out his prescription pad and recommend antibiotics unless it’s a severe condition.
While there might not be much you can do to treat it yourself, you can try a few home remedies to ease your little one’s pain.
1. You can place a warm water bag near your baby’s ears for a few minutes. This might reduce the pain.
2. Get your baby to swallow by providing him with a lot of water. This might help in draining the trapped fluid.
3. Homeopathic or ayurvedic ear-drops are also known to help fight the inflammation and infection. Make sure to get your doctor’s consent before you try this.