An ear infection is a painful condition that’s especially common in children. These infections typically aren’t serious, but without intervention, they can increase the risk of hearing loss and other complications. At Manchester Pediatric Associates, the team of experienced pediatricians works with children of all ages to diagnose and treat ear infections. To make an appointment for your child at the practice in South Windsor, or Tolland, Connecticut, call the nearest office today or schedule online.

request an appointment

What is an ear infection?

An ear infection occurs when a microorganism, like a virus or bacteria, enters the middle ear –– an air-filled sac behind the eardrum. Over time, the middle ear becomes inflamed, resulting in a variety of uncomfortable side effects like headaches, hearing loss, and vertigo.

Most ear infections are minor and respond to at-home treatments like rest, over-the-counter medication, and drinking plenty of fluids. If your child’s symptoms last for more than a few days, prescription antibiotics may be necessary.

What are the symptoms of an ear infection?

Symptoms of an ear infection include:

  • Ear pain while lying down
  • Tugging or pulling the ear
  • Trouble sleeping
  • More crying or fussing than usual
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of hearing
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever

If your child has an ear infection, you might also notice fluid draining from their ear.

Do certain factors increase the risk of an ear infection?

There are several factors that increase your child’s risk of an ear infection, including:

  • Being between the ages of six months and 2 years old
  • Attending preschool or daycare
  • Feeding from a bottle
  • Poor air quality
  • Cleft palate

Seasonal factors can also play a role. For example, children are more likely to develop an ear infection during the fall or winter than they are during the spring or summer.

How is an ear infection diagnosed?

To diagnose an ear infection, your child’s Manchester Pediatric Associates provider reviews their health history and asks you about their symptoms. Afterward, they use a tool called an otoscope to shine a light in your child’s ear. The otoscope allows your child’s provider to see their inner ears, throat, and nasal passages.

If your child’s provider suspects their symptoms are due to another problem that isn’t an infection, they might recommend additional testing to assess the health and function of your child’s eardrum.

How is an ear infection treated?

Treatment of an ear infection depends on the severity of your child’s symptoms. Sometimes, ear infections resolve on their own. If the inflammation is mild, your child’s provider might recommend a wait-and-watch approach.

If your child has a history of ear infections, the team at Manchester Pediatric Associates might recommend prescription antibiotics, pain medication, or anesthetic ear drops. In rare cases, draining the ear may be necessary.

To explore your child’s treatment options for an ear infection, make an appointment at Manchester Pediatric Associates by calling the nearest office today or scheduling online.