March 9, 2011

Symptoms and Home Remedies For Ear Infections in Toddlers

Posted in Category : Child Health

Do you notice your child tugging at his ear and being cranky? If yes, then, it could be due to an ear infection. Pain is the number one symptom in toddler earaches, followed by other symptoms. Ear infections are quite common in children. About half of the babies in the USA have an ear infection before they turn 1.

So what causes this ailment in children? Ear infections can be caused due to a virus or bacteria. This then leads to a fluid build-up in the area behind the child’s eardrum, and becomes infected. Built-up fluids normally exit quite quickly via the Eustachian tube. If this tube gets blocked, due to allergies, cold and sinus infections, the fluids get trapped in the middle ear. Germs start to breed in the fluid-filled area thus infecting it and causing an inflammation in and around the eardrum. The reason toddlers or babies are more prone to ear infections, is because their Eustachian tubes are much shorter as compared to adults. Ear infections may eventually develop into a fever as the body tries to fight off the infection.

Some symptoms that accompany ear infections are:

  • Difficulty Sleeping: Lying down tends to make an ear infection more painful.
  • Loss of Appetite: The pain in the ear makes it difficult to swallow and chew.
  • Fluid Drainage: There might be a whitish or yellowish discharge from the ear, although this happens very rarely.
  • Unpleasant odor: The infected fluid may give out a foul odor.
  • Trouble Hearing: A fluid build-up in the ear may block sounds.
  • Unsteady Balance: The ear helps manage equilibrium, so your child might have difficulty with balance.

You should consult your doctor at the onset of an ear infection. He will be able to check for any fluid build-up. Based on your child’s age and symptoms, he or she will be able to prescribe the best treatment. There is however some home remedies for ear infections for toddlers which can help relieve the pain, these are:

  • Warm Compresses: Wet a clean cloth in warm water and wring it dry. Make a small pouch out of the cloth and press it gently on each ear for about 5 minutes.
  • Oil Drops: Warm some olive or garlic oil. Using a dropper, first test the oil’s temperature on your skin. If the oil is warm, put two to three of these drops in each ear. (do not use any drops if there is a fluid discharge from the ear)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: With the help of a dropper, pour two to three drops of hydrogen peroxide in each ear.
  • Rice: Warm a cup of uncooked rice and place it in a large clean sock. Test the temperature on your skin, if it is warm (not hot), place it on the outside of your child’s ear for 10 minutes.
  • Tobacco Smoke: Keep your child away from tobacco smoke as it is known to aggravate an ear infection.
  • Wash your Hands: An infection may also spread due to germs so be sure to wash your hands with soap after using the toilet, before eating or handling  food, and after changing diapers.
  • Breast Milk: For mothers, pump a little of your breast milk into a cup and using a dropper, put two to three drops of your milk in each ear. Breast milk is known to have antibodies that help to fight infections.
  • Protecting the Ears: Germs can spread through water so you need to make sure your child’s ears are covered when bathing or swimming.