By the age of 3, five out of six children will have had an ear infection. While extremely common, most children only have a handful of ear infections, though some do develop recurring or chronic infections that interfere with their well-being. At Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists in Petoskey and Gaylord, Michigan, the team provides expert diagnosis and treatments to relieve your child’s symptoms and help them fight off the infection. Call Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists or schedule an appointment online today if you suspect your child may have an ear infection.
Ear infections are usually bacterial infections in the middle ear that develop when fluid doesn’t drain correctly and builds up behind the eardrum. Ear infections are common in children as their ear tubes are short and relatively level, which interferes with drainage. As a result, they’re more prone to fluid buildup and infection.
Illnesses like colds, sinus infections, tonsillitis, and allergies contribute to ear infections. These conditions cause inflammation in your sinuses and throat, which can trap bacteria in your ears.
Ear infections are painful and usually cause a fever. Signs that your child has an ear infection include:
You may also notice fluid draining from their ears or crust around their ears.
If your child is showing signs of an ear infection, the providers at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists provide exams and diagnostic testing. Your provider checks your child’s temperature and looks into their ears, throat, nose, and eyes. When they look into your child’s ears, they check for redness and signs of air or fluid trapped behind the ear. They also look for damage to the eardrum, including perforation or bulging.
Your provider may also take a sample of the fluid to identify the type of infection causing your child’s illness. In some cases, they may order a CT scan to examine the middle and inner ear structures in more detail.
Depending on the cause of your child’s infection, your provider may prescribe an antibiotic, diuretic, or other medication to fight off infection and reduce excess fluid and inflammation.
If your child has recurring or chronic ear infections, your doctor may recommend placing tubes in your child’s ears.
Ear tubes are tiny devices that the doctor places through the eardrum. The tubes allow fluid to drain more efficiently, which reduces your child’s risk of infection. Tube placement is a minimally invasive procedure that the team usually provides on an outpatient basis. The tubes stay in place for up to nine months. Most of the time, the tubes come out on their own, but occasionally your doctor will need to remove the tubes.
Call Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat or schedule an appointment online today if your child is exhibiting signs of an ear infection.