Ear infections are one of the most common health problems in children under 3. Even though the numbers have dropped in recent years, it still afflicts almost three-quarters of babies. With that knowledge in mind, it’s very important that you know how to recognize the symptoms of an ear infection.
The tough part of spotting illnesses in babies is that they can’t communicate their symptoms to you verbally. That’s why you have to be extra observant and know what to look for.
To help make your job easier, here are a few telltale signs of ear infections in infants.
1. Tugging at their Ear
Pain in babies is tricky. For a baby, there’s no way for them to identify or alleviate their pain. Because of this, they will often tug at their ear in an attempt to make the pain go away.
Though an ear infection isn’t the only reason an infant might tug at their ear, it’s one of the most common. Especially when coupled with any of the other symptoms you’ll see on this list, that’s a telltale sign of an ear infection.
2. Trouble Lying Down
Ear infections cause a plethora of things to go wrong in the ear canal. One of those things is a shift in pressure.
When a baby with an ear infection lies down, there’s a pressure change in the middle ear. This makes lying down flat uncomfortable and often painful.
If your baby is having trouble sleeping or lying down, it could very well be due to an ear infection.
3. Ear Drainage
This is one of the most obvious signs of an ear infection. It doesn’t happen in every instance, but if you notice it, it’s almost certainly an ear infection. It also means it’s time to get to a doctor or urgent care clinic right away.
The drainage takes the form of a thick yellow or bloody fluid. This is the result of a ruptured eardrum, but that’s not a cause for concern in itself. When you treat the ear infection, the eardrum will heal naturally in a few weeks.
4. Crying More
One of the things babies do most frequently is cry, so this isn’t a sign by itself. There are many reasons an infant could be crying more, but if it’s coupled with other symptoms on this list, an ear infection could be the culprit.
5. Trouble Hearing
Since infants aren’t verbal, it can be tough to notice when their hearing is suffering. The best way to test this is to see if they’re less responsive to sounds.
Try making a sound they would normally respond to and see if they notice it. If they’re consistently failing to respond to audio stimulation, it could be from blockage due to an ear infection.
Know the Signs of Ear Infections in Infants
It’s incredibly important to recognize the signs of ear infections in infants. Although an ear infection is a common occurrence and nothing to worry about, it’s still something that needs to be treated as early as possible to avoid complications.
If you have any suspicions your child is suffering from an ear infection, don’t waste any time. Get them to a doctor or a top-notch urgent care clinic right away.