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Quick Dose: What’s Up With Ear Infections?

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As parents of young children know, most kids have one or two ear infections a year during the peak of cold and flu season (October – April), making it a top reason for a visit to the pediatrician. Symptoms may include fever, pain in the ear, difficulty sleeping, decreased appetite and drainage from the ear and they can be very painful because of the pressure building up in the tiny eardrum tissue. The good news is that most ear infections are not cause for alarm, and with time, your child will grow out of this stage.

It is usually recommended to treat ear infections in infants less than two years old with antibiotics; for children older than two, physicians may hold off on prescribing antibiotics to wait and see if the symptoms can improve first. If antibiotics are prescribed, remember to complete the full course of treatment, even if the symptoms improve. Your physician may recommend children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or applying a warm washcloth on the ear for some relief.

Bessey Geevarghese, DO, pediatric infectious diseases, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital