Ear infections are a highly common and treatable condition that affects countless adults and children. However, they are even more prevalent in children, with some youngsters experiencing more than five ear infections in a single year. This is because the affected tubes inside a child’s ear canal are narrower than an adult’s, making it easier for bacteria or a virus to cause a problem. At Chai Urgent Care, we offer on-the-spot pediatric health services and understand that a pediatric ear infection must be treated with special care.
Types of Ear Infections
The top reason parents bring their children to the doctor, pediatric ear infections are the result of swelling or buildup of a virus or bacteria in the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum. There are three main types, including:
- Acute otitis media (AOM): the most common form that is usually referred to as an earache
- Otitis media with effusion (OME): when fluid remains trapped behind the eardrum
- Chronic otitis media with effusion (COME): when fluid is trapped in the middle ear for an extended period of time or recurs, even without the presence of an infection
Signs and Symptoms
Any signs of ear pain in your child, including tugging or pulling at the ear, should be carefully monitored. Ear pain is usually more prominent when they are lying down, so if they have trouble sleeping or appear restless, this is another sign of a potential ear infection. Symptoms may also include:
- More crying than normal
- Loss of balance and/or appetite
- Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
- Fluid draining from the ear
Diagnosis and Treatment In NJ & NY
At Chai Urgent Care, our team will start by asking you some questions regarding your child’s behavior and will use an instrument called an otoscope to explore their eardrum for infection. If we cannot quickly determine an infection, a test called a tympanometry might be performed. This test helps determine the flexibility of the eardrum at different air pressures.
Once we have accurately diagnosed your child’s condition, your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic that will need to be taken for about a week. Over-the-counter ear drops may also be recommended to help prevent a fever. If your child is six months to two years old, we may hold off on prescribing antibiotics to see if the problem persists in an attempt to prevent an early resistance to antibiotics.
If the ear infection caused a torn eardrum, this often requires intricate surgery. During the procedure, doctors typically add a small tube in the eardrum for better ventilation and to prevent the buildup of fluid. If this procedure still doesn’t fix the problem, a surgeon may remove the adenoids to prevent the infection from spreading.
Trust the Team at Chai Urgent Care
The good news is that, in many cases, a pediatric ear infection may clear up on its own. However, if you notice symptoms lasting for several days, you should utilize our ear infection urgent care services right away. With several convenient locations across NJ & NY that are open seven days per week, you can take advantage of little to no wait time and the expertise of our on-site pediatric staff. For more information, contact Chai Urgent Care today.