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.

Acute Sinusitis: Symptoms and Treatment

Acute Sinusitis Symptoms and TreatmentsFeeling stuffy with uncomfortable pressure on your cheekbones? It could mean you have acute sinusitis. Also known as rhinosinusitis, this short-term sinus infection can cause inflammation or swelling of the membranes that line your sinuses preventing mucus from draining from your nose.

Causes of Acute Sinusitis

In a normal (healthy) scenario, our sinuses are usually filled with air. However, when infection hits, these healthy sinuses become clogged and accumulate fluids, germs from bacteria, fungi and even viruses. Individuals with the following illnesses and conditions are more prone to developing sinusitis

  • Colds and runny noses
  • upper respiratory infections
  • fungal sinus infections
  • allergies that cause mucus production in the sinuses
  • lack of cilia motility, caused by disease
  • nasal polyps or tumors
  • deviated nasal septum
  • enlarged or infected adenoids
  • infected tooth (in rare cases, bacteria can spread from the infected tooth to the sinuses)
  • cystic fibrosis (a disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the body)
  • immune deficiencies
  • nasal structural differences causing narrowing of nasal drainage ducts

Types of Sinusitis

Sinusitis is divided into four categories including acute sinusitis (typically lasting 3 weeks), sub-acute sinusitis (usually lasts for 4 to 8 weeks), chronic sinusitis (can last for 8 weeks or longer and is also characterized by extreme sinus infection), and recurrent sinusitis (these tend to recur over time).

Signs and symptoms

Some of the signs and symptoms associated with acute sinusitis include:

  • Pain, tenderness and inflammation
    Swelling is most commonly associated with this condition. Infections of the sinus cause inflammation and a dull constant pain is usually felt on the affected sinuses.
  • Discharge
    A thick, greenish-yellow discharge can come from the nose or go down the back of the throat.
  • Congestion
    Inflamed sinus can cause nasal obstruction causing difficulty breathing through your nose.
  • Persistent cough
    The couch may be worse at night and usually irritates the throat causing a sore throat.
  • Headache
    Swelling and sinus pressure can lead to headaches, aching in your upper jaw and teeth, and fatigue.
  • Other symptoms include: ear pain, fever, bad breath, reduced sense of smell and taste

At-Home Symptom Relief

Help relieve some of the symptoms with a little at-home TLC, starting with getting enough of rest to fight infection and speed up the recovery process (you might even try elevating your head as well). Drinking plenty of fluids (avoid caffeine or alcohol) will help to dilute mucous secretions and promote drainage.

Next time you’re feeling stuffy, also try taking a hot, steamy shower and breathe in the warm, moist air or apply a warm compress around your nose, cheeks and eyes (this should help to ease pain and help drain mucus).

Treatment

The good news: sinus infections are not contagious.

Treatment for acute sinusitis varies depending on whether the source of the infection is viral or bacterial and may include analgesics (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories), saline irrigation, corticosteroids, decongestants or antihistamines. Antibiotics can be prescribed to treat sinusitis caused by bacterial infections, if the infection is severe, recurrent or persistent.

Visit eMedical Urgent Care at the first sign that sinusitis is detected; as this goes a long way in preventing an individual from developing chronic or recurrent sinusitis. Treatment for sinus infections are available at eMedical Urgent Care. Our convenient hours are designed to fit your busy schedule. Learn more about our services and how we can treat you and your family by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.