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Kansas City Mom Collective: Ear Infections, What You Can Do and When is it Time for Ear Tubes?

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By Dr. Laura Neff

Ear infections are one of the most common medical issues among young children and can be frustrating for both parents and kids. As a parent, you want to do everything possible to keep your child healthy.  Here’s what to know about ear infections and when to talk to your doctor about getting ear tubes.

What are ear infections?

Ear infections are caused by a buildup of fluid or pus behind the eardrum. They are most common in young children and infants because their Eustachian tubes – the tubes connecting the middle ear to the throat – aren’t fully developed. These tubes are narrow, horizontal and can easily be clogged with mucus. We most commonly see lots of ear infections in 2- to 4-year-old children, but ear infections can happen at any age. 

Ear infections can be caused by many things like: 

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses like getting a cold
  • Smoke exposure
  • Allergies
  • Germs from populated places like a daycare
  • Facial abnormalities
  • Family history of ear infections

Signs of an ear infection 

When an ear infection happens in a young child, it’s hard to know what’s going on. Some children are too young to talk or say what’s bothering them, but you can watch for the signs of an ear infection that might include:  

  • Irritability or crying  
  • Ear pain
  • Low grade fever – between 99.5- and 100.3-degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Eating less
  • Tugging at ears
  • Headache
  • Hearing/listening less than normal 
  • Throwing up or diarrhea 
  • Trouble sleeping

If you notice any of these symptoms, it can be time to visit your child’s primary care provider for help. 


Read the full article via the Kansas City Mom Collective

Ear, Nose & Throat department at Children's Mercy