A major difficulty for parents of infants and young toddlers is determining what is wrong when the child seems to be in pain. Even those babies that are beginning to talk may not be able to communicate what is wrong in a clear manner, and frustration at this only makes them more upset. Ear infections are a common complaint for young children, but your child may not be able to tell you when their ear hurts. The following signs can help you recognize ear issues.
Symptom #1: Eye and nose drainage
Ear infections often follow a cold, usually surfacing a few days after the cold seems to have cleared. If your baby suddenly becomes cranky, check for drainage. Drainage from the nose should be clear after a cold – if it becomes thick and yellow or green, an ear infection could be in the making. Just like the ear, the eyes are also connected to the sinus cavities. When an ear or sinus infection occurs, a young child may also have drainage from the eyes.
Symptom #2: Ear pulling
Pulling, tugging, or even hitting the ear are signs that there is pain inside the ear somewhere. Every baby is different, so watch for any strange behavior regarding the ear. Some babies may shake their head repeatedly or press on the ear with their hand instead of pulling or tugging. If you have an irritable child that keeps messing with their ear, suspect an infection.
Symptom #3: Fluid from the ear
Some babies will develop drainage from the ear itself, especially as the infection advances. This may be liquid or pus-like, or it may be like a slightly more sticky or soft earwax. If you notice any type of drainage or wax buildup that's more than usual, then it's time to visit the doctor to make sure your child doesn't have an infection.
Symptom #4: Increasing irritability
A painful ear makes it uncomfortable for a baby to lay down. Infants may cry each time you try to lay them down, only being able to rest when held upright. Older babies may insist on sitting up each time you try to put them down. They may also refuse to lay on one side because of the pain. This sleeplessness naturally leads to further irritability. A low grade fever may also accompany the increasing discomfort.
Call your doctor or visit an urgent care center if you suspect that your child has an ear infection.Share