Ear infections occur when bacteria or a virus in the ear causes fluid build-up and/or inflammation. Children are especially susceptible to ear infections. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, five out of six children will develop an ear infection by the age of three and some will have developed multiple ear infections by that time. The doctors at Children’s Physicians are your Jupiter, Palm City, and Palm Beach Gardens, FL, pediatricians for treating your child’s ear infection.
Types of Ear Infections
Not all ear infections are the same. There are actually three different types of ear infections. The type of ear infection your child has depends on where inflammation is present or where fluid is trapped in the ear. Types of ear infections include:
- Acute Otitis Media — The most common type of ear infection; it involves inflammation of the middle ear and fluid behind the eardrum.
- Otitis Media with Effusion — Associated with continued fluid build-up behind the eardrum even after an infection has been treated.
- Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion — Associated with recurring fluid buildup in the middle ear even when there is no new infection.
Symptoms of an Ear Infection
There are several symptoms associated with ear infections. Being able to recognize the symptoms is especially important in young children who have not yet learned to talk and cannot explain that their ear hurts. If your child develops any of the symptoms of an ear infection, see your pediatrician in Jupiter, Palm City, and Palm Beach Gardens for treatment as soon as possible. Symptoms of an ear infection include:
- Developing a fever
- Rubbing or pulling on the ears
- Fluid drainage from the ear
- Unusual difficulty hearing
- Crying or fussiness
- Balancing problems
- Difficulty sleeping
Treating Ear Infections
Ear infections can be treated in several ways. In some cases, antibiotics are helpful for clearing out any bacteria that are causing inflammation and fluid build-up. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also be helpful for reducing fever and alleviating discomfort. Ear tubes are another option for treating ear infections. They are small, thin straw-like tubes placed in the eardrum to improve air flow and help trapped fluid drain out. Improving airflow with ear tubes will also prevent additional fluid from building up behind the eardrum.
There are several options for treating your child’s ear infection. Your Jupiter, Palm City, and Palm Beach Gardens, FL pediatrician can diagnose the type of ear infection your child has and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Children’s Physicians, call one of their three convenient locations: Palm Beach Gardens (561) 626-4000; Jupiter (561) 743-9000; or Palm City (772) 219-4444.