Ear infections are extremely common. In fact, according to an article published in JAMA Pediatrics Patient Page in 2020, “About 50% of all children will have at least 1 ear infection by the time they reach their second birthday.”
In many cases, an ENT (ear, nose and throat) physician will take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to ear infections. If this is the case for your child, you can do the following to care for them until the infection clears.
Manage Pain & Fever with Medication
You can manage your child’s pain and fever with over-the-counter medications. Which one you give and what dose depends on your child’s age and weight, and you should always consult their pediatrician before administering any medications.
The general guidelines are as follows:
- Babies under six months: only give acetaminophen (TYLENOL®).
- Children over six months: may also be given ibuprofen (Advil).
- Children of any age: never give aspirin.
Use a Compress to Relieve Discomfort
Either a cold or warm, wet washcloth may be pressed to the ear to help relieve discomfort. Different children prefer different temperatures, so test both cold and warm to see which your child prefers.
Keep Them Hydrated
Give your child lots of clear fluids to keep them hydrated. In addition to plain water, make sure they’re drinking electrolytes.
Elevate Their Head
Keeping your child’s head elevated, especially when they’re sleeping, can help relieve some of the pressure. If your child is over two years old and doesn’t sleep in a crib, you can elevate their head with a pillow. If they’re under two or sleep in a crib, don’t use a pillow—instead, you can put them in a car seat for short periods of time.
Watch for Drainage
It’s common for the ears to drain during an ear infection. Simply wipe it away when you notice it. Never plug the ears with cotton balls or anything else, or this can cause an infection in the ear canal as well.
Know When to Seek Medical Attention
Call your child’s doctor right away if:
- Your child has a fever and is under three months old.
- For older children, their fever lasts more than two days.
- Ear pain becomes severe, or they are crying nonstop.
- Ear discharge is not better after antibiotics.
- Your child overall seems to be feeling worse.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Spartanburg | Greer ENT & Allergy today.