It’s no secret that ear infections among children and toddlers are very common, but that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with as a parent. Ear infections are very painful for kids, but they’re also very treatable.

Do you have to go to the doctor to help your little one’s ear feel better, though?

In some instances, yes, and in some, no. Our AFC Urgent Care TN team further explains below.

What Causes Ear Infections?

Middle ear infections, which are the most common type of ear infection among children, are caused by a buildup of bacteria and viral particles in the ear.

Normally, the air in your child’s middle ear is passed through the Eustachian tube, which keeps the middle ear clean and dry. However, when there is not enough fresh air ventilating the middle ear, such as when the Eustachian tube is clogged or blocked, the area becomes damp, stagnant and warm, creating a perfect breeding ground for germs. We’ve listed some common ear infection symptoms below.

Common Symptoms of Ear Infections

  • Ear pain, especially when lying down
  • Fussiness
  • A fever of over 100 F
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
  • Loss of balance
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Nausea

When Should I Take My Child to the Doctor?

Although some home remedies can help ease the pain of ear infections, taking your child to the doctor if he or she experiences any of the above symptoms is almost always the right choice.

If your child doesn’t get ear infections often, things like a warm compress and OTC pain relievers can do the trick. However, if your child suffers from chronic ear infections, we strongly suggest that you visit your healthcare provider to get the relief your child needs.

Reasons to Visit the Doctor

  • Your child’s body temperature rises above 100.4°F. A fever signals the possibility of a more serious infection, especially in infants and young children.
  • Your child has hearing problems as the infection may be the cause
  • Your child frequently develops ear infections. Repeated bouts with the disorder can lead to hearing loss or more serious infections.

If your child has an ear infection, we can help! Don’t wait to visit one of our AFC Urgent Care NC centers today.