Apparently, three out of 4 children will suffer from an ear infection according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Ear infections occur when viruses or bacteria get inside the ear, usually the result of a cold or other illness. Fluid and mucus can become trapped deep inside the ear. They are more common with bottle feeders and amongst boys.
My little guy (18 months on Monday) has had two ear infections and both times resulted in a visit to his doctor and both times we were given a prescription for antibiotics but with a word of caution. My doctor does not like to give out antibiotics for ear infections, because according to her most ear infections are caused by viruses, and even those that are bacteria related clear up on their own within a few days. This actually is similar to the guidelines put out by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Among other things, those guidelines recommend that pain medication be prescribed for most children and antibiotics used only if the conditions persist or don’t improve.
Watchful waiting is the term that is used. Watch your child. If the ear tugging and the redness continue and the pain is getting worse, then bring the child back to the doctor, as antibiotics may be necessary. My doctor also prescribed Ear Oil, a combination of olive oil, St John’s Wort, garlic and mullein. St John’s Wort has anti-viral properties and garlic has natural anti-bacterial properties. I put 5 drops in my little guy’s ear a few times per day until he stopped tugging on his ear. He did smell like a pizza, but this stuff worked for him. I did take him back for a check up 3 days later, just to make sure. You would never want an ear infection to continue to get worse and not do anything for it. We were lucky, and never had to use the antibiotics.
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