October 7, 2010

Toddler Ear Infections

This last weekend I had to take Will to the urgent care to get checked for a ear infection.  I had missed all the signs throughout the week and after a sleepless night I still didn't see what was wrong.  It was before dinner Saturday night when I noticed some pus coming out his ear, I finally figured out what was going on.

How could I miss the symptoms, the signs?  As a trained professional, I should be able to spot these things right?  Well, with my happy little boy it was hard to spot.  He had a fever that week but it was only low grade, occasional ear tugging but not constant. 

Ear infections are pretty common in kids. It is caused by a bacteria which causes fluid to buildup behind the ear drum.  Children's ears are still developing so the tubes in their ears (Eustachian tubes) are shorter and therefor, more susceptible to infection. 

Symptoms with children include increased fussiness and painful ears.  Both can also be caused by teething (which is were I went wrong with Will who is working on his first molar).  More telling symptoms include fever, decreased appetite, difficulty sleeping, foul smelling ear, or pus drainage from the ear.

Call your pediatrician if you suspect an ear infection.  They often go away on their own without requiring antibiotics, but if there is pus or high fever antibiotics will need to be started.  Often the most common approach is Amoxicillin, so if there is an allergy make sure your care provider knows. 

Frequent ear infections may require tubes to be inserted to allow the fluid to drain easier, limiting bacterial growth.  This is a common outpatient procedure that is successful in decreasing the frequency of ear infections. 


  1. I'm also a trained health professional and I also missed a severe ear infection that my grandson suffered.

    I think the thing is that with children they don't always present as one would expect. We thought it was just a worse than usual bout of his colic until, like your child, his ear started to leak pus.

    I am mortified I missed it but then so had our GP. That was the only thing that made me feel even vaguely less guilty.

  2. Carrie, did my first comment show up?

  3. Poor baby! Hayden has had several ear infection and it can be hard to spot. I actually have an ear infection myself right now! So painful!



Related Posts with Thumbnails
© 2010 Laura Jane Designs
Elements by Jennifer Fox