Signs Of An Ear Infection, And Prevention Tips

The signs of an ear infection may not always be clear. Sometimes your child may actually complain of an earache, but some other children may not complain at all, which is why knowing when your child has an ear infection can be difficult to diagnose yourself. Read on for a few signs and symptoms of an ear infection and ways to help prevent them.

Pulling At The Ear

If your child is pulling on their ears or rubbing their ears at all it could be the sign of an ear infection. Your child may also cry when anything touches their ear and have sensitivity to sound, wind or anything that irritates the ear.

Ear Drainage

If you notice drainage coming from the ear it may be the sign of an infection. This usually occurs in more severe infections, so if there is drainage your child's ear may also have a ruptured ear drum. The drainage coming out may appear white or yellowish in color or look like pus.

Difficulty Sleeping

If your child is suddenly waking up crying in the middle of the night, screaming or having a hard time staying asleep it could be the sign of an infection. When your child is laying down the fluid in the ear may be draining. This can be painful for your child, resulting in the screaming and sleepless nights. Try to give your child extra pillows to sleep with to keep their head propped up and have your child sleep on the opposite side. 

Cold-Like Symptoms

If your child has a runny nose or is coughing it may be just a cold, but it could be from excess drainage in the sinuses that can lead to ear infections. All of that drainage has to go somewhere and sometimes will get trapped in the ear canals. This buildup of fluid can eventually lead to an infection. Keep an eye out for other symptoms along with the cold symptoms. Encourage your child to blow their nose to get rid of the fluid and not snorting it up - that fluid needs to get out of their body.

Prevention Tips

Prevent ear infections by:

  • Don't smoke around your child. Cigarette smoke can lead to ear infections (or more frequent ear infections) in your child.
  • Vaccinate your child against the flu to help the body fight off bacteria that can cause ear infections.
  • Have your child wash their hands with soap and warm water to prevent the spread of germs. 
  • Limit exposure to other children that are sick, and keep your child at home if they are ill to prevent spreading germs.

If you think your child may have an ear infection or just isn't acting like themselves, take your child to the family doctor for a checkup and exam to rule out an infection or for treatment if it is an ear infection.