Babies and young children are particularly susceptible to ear infections. If the baby has been suffering from cold, the fluid or mucus may not drain out properly from the swollen middle ear leading to bacterial or viral growth and subsequent infection. If the infection gets worse so does the inflammation making the condition more painful.
Some common symptoms of an ear infection in an infant are:
- Unwillingness to lie flat.
- Repeatedly touching the ear and crying.
- Fussiness and irritability.
- Slow response to auditory stimulation.
- Difficulty in sucking and swallowing.
- Clear runny nose will turn yellow or green before an ear infection sets in.
- Restless sleep.
- Low-grade fever.
- Yellow or whitish fluid draining from the ear.
- Lack of body balances in toddlers.
Generally, most ear infections clear up with little or no medical intervention. To manage the pain, the paediatrician may allow paracetamol to be administered. However if blood or pus drains out of the ear, consult the doctor immediately.
Breastfeed your baby more frequently during ear infection as breast milk boosts immunity and helps the baby’s body build up its defence mechanism.
If your baby is bottle-fed, always hold the baby in an upright position while feeding her. This prevents the milk from flowing into the middle ear and pooling.
If you leave your child in a daycare centre, check if other babies are suffering from cold and cough. Repeated exposure to ear infection can lead to hearing impairment in later life.
Check with your baby’s paediatrician on the effectiveness of a pneumococcal vaccine. It has been found to restrict ear infection occurrences in children.