Ear Infections and How to Spot Them in Your Child

Spotting an Ear Infection in Your ChildNo matter what you do to help keep your child healthy, he or she may be at risk for a common childhood ailment: ear infections. The most common cause of earaches, this type of infection may occur several times throughout childhood. Prompt medical attention is strongly advised, particularly if your child is under six months of age. Here are some tips for spotting this condition in your child.

Be On the Lookout Following An Illness

If your child has recently suffered from an upper respiratory infection, be watchful for any symptoms of an earache. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, ear infections are typically caused by bacteria and may commonly follow a cold or a sore throat. Infected fluid may linger behind the eardrum following an illness, causing inflammation that may lead to severe pain and discomfort.

Ear Infection Symptoms

Very young children are still building their immune symptoms, which is why they may be more susceptible to complications following a cold or other respiratory illness. Additionally, the channels between the ear and throat that drain fluids in adults are more horizontal in children, which can lead to fluid build-up. The chances are that your child’s first upper respiratory infection and subsequent complications will occur before they are old enough to speak. Thankfully, children may use a variety of nonverbal cues to demonstrate that they are not feeling feel. These can include:

  • Ear drainage
  • Trouble hearing
  • Tugging on one or both ears
  • Trouble with balance
  • Poor appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fever

In young children, you should also be on the lookout for vomiting or diarrhea. However, it is important to note that your child may not exhibit one or more of these symptoms. Watch for any changes in behavior, including fussiness, being clingy, or crying more than usual. These behaviors may indicate a possible illness or infection.

When to Seek Medical Help

Although this condition is common in children, it should not be left entirely untreated. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics to prevent the spread of infection in young babies. Antibiotics also may be recommended if your older baby or toddler is experiencing severe symptoms or is not better within two to three days. Mild infections should be monitored closely at home. Children’s pain medicine may help with pain, fever and inflammation, while a warm (not hot) heat pack can help soothe the area.

Pediatric Urgent Care

If you or your child is experiencing symptoms of an ear infection, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. You should also consider seeking medical advice before administering over-the-counter medicine or medicated ear drops to young children. When your child becomes ill, choosing the right medical provider is important; eMedical Urgent Care makes it easy to get the help you need, from pediatric health services to treating sinus infections in adults. Call to learn more about our services in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, (908) 464-6700, and Middletown, New Jersey, (732) 957-0707.

Sinus Infections

Sinus infections, also referred to as sinusitis, usually occur after a common cold swells the mucus membranes which traps mucus and air behind the sinuses. The changing pressure allows (usually harmless) bacteria to slip into the sinuses, where it grows inside the mucus. Our physicians at eMedical Urgent Care after hours doctors office have provided some insight on sinus infections below:

What are the Sinuses?

Behind the bones of your face there are hollow spaces which are filled with air that lead to the nose cavity. This is known as the sinuses. Your sinuses have the same mucous membrane lining as your nose does. The membrane produces a slimy secretion (called mucus), which keeps the nasal passages moist. This mucus traps dirt particles and germs.

What is Sinusitis?

In medical English, the suffix “it is” means an “Inflammation.” Sinusitis is a swelling of and infection of the sinuses. Since the passageways from the sinuses to the nose are very narrow, swelling and mucus may block the passageways leading to painful pressure. They can be categorized as:

  • Acute: Lasts 4 weeks or less
  • Sub-acute: Lasts 4 to 12 weeks
  • Chronic: Lasts more than 12 weeks and can continue for months or years
  • Recurrent: Several acute attacks within a year

Causes of a Sinus Infection

Sinus infections are common all year round due to the increased pollution we continue to push into the air and our resistance to antibiotics. Most often it’s either allergens (such as pollen and mold) or viruses (such as the common cold) are to blame for swelling. When the swelling causes the passageway to close off, bacteria, viruses and even fungus can get trapped in the sinuses all leading to an infection.

Symptoms of a Sinus Infection

Symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • feeling pressure in your head
  • a headache that is most painful when you first wake up in the morning or when you bend your head forward
  • pain around your eyes and eye lids
  • earaches or neck pain
  • aching in the teeth, cheeks and upper jaw
  • thick, green mucus and stuffy nose (loss of smell)
  • cough, especially on the evenings
  • fluid draining down the back of your throat (postnasal drainage)
  • sore throat
  • dizziness (the inner ear is affected causing a person to lose equilibrium and become off-balanced)

Treatment

You want your nose to run. Try treatments like sipping on hot tea, taking a hot, steamy shower, add some spicy mustard to lunch, or even watch the Notebook for a good cry…and relief. You can also try a nasal irrigation like a netipot to rinse the nasal passages, warm compress and sleeping with your head raised. In addition, decongestants will also help to relive pressure, and help open up the airways.

The more that your mucus stays thick, the more pain and pressure you’ll create, so remember to avoid dairy products which will exasperate the symptoms.

When Should I see a Doctor?

The good news is that sinus infections are not contagious. Although, a true sinus infection, if left untreated, can lead to other infections around the eyes and/or teeth or an upper respiratory infection. When over the counter relief prove to be ineffective and pain and stuffiness persist, seek medical attention. If you have a fever, if the mucus is thick or green, antibiotics are a necessary treatment.

Treatment for Sinus Infections are available at eMedical. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your schedule. Learn more about our services and how we can treat you by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.