How to tell if it’s really an ear infection from the doctor
Before I can tell you how to know if your child is pulling at their ears because of infection, I think it would be useful to explain a bit more about the ears. The ear is loosely made up of 3 different parts; the outer ear, middle ear,
The outer ear is lined with normal skin and produces wax which protects the canal from infection. The eardrum, also known as the tympanic membrane, is made from a very thin layer of skin, and separates the outer and middle ears. The middle chamber of the ear contains tiny bones which move when sound waves cause the eardrum to vibrate, and they transmit this sound to a nerve which then carries it to the brain. This nerve and the apparatus that control our balance are situated in the inner ear – a chamber surrounded by the temporal bone of the skull.
Now when we talk about an
Middle ear infections, also called Otitis Media, occur behind the eardrum, and happen when bugs pass from the back of the nose and throat down a small tube which allows pressure changes either side of the eardrum, to the middle ear. Infections can be caused by both bacteria and viruses, but can cause some similar symptoms.
In bacterial Otitis Media, a child will complain of
If your child is particularly unwell with fever or vomiting, then you should see your doctor so they can consider antibiotics after having a look down the ear(s). Other reasons why your doctor might give antibiotics to your child include bilateral Otitis Media in a young child, recurrent ear infection, or symptoms lasting more than 4 days. If your child remains rather well, and the symptoms are well controlled with pain relief, it would be reasonable to wait 3-4 days before seeing your GP for an ongoing problem.
If there is any doubt, however, and you are worried that your child is unwell, please see your doctor.
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