If your child has been unusually cranky lately, he or she could be suffering from a painful ear infection. An ear infection, which is a common childhood ailment, occurs when the middle ear becomes inflamed due to an overgrowth of bacteria. When your child's ears become infected, fluid accumulates behind the eardrum, causing pressure and swelling.
Still, you may be unsure of the signs associated with an ear infection. Here are a few of them:
If your child complains of discomfort in his or her ears, an ear infection could be brewing. As more and more fluid becomes trapped behind the ear drum, the pressure can cause a terrible earache.
As with other infections, your child's temperature may become elevated to try to fight the infection in his or her body. A fever, which is medically defined as any bodily temperature that exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit, is caused by the blood of the body moving to the interior or core. This causes an increase in metabolic rate and produces shivering or chills. Your child's body temperature will return to normal once antibiotics have eliminated the infection or a fever-reducing drug, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, has been administered.
Chronic ear infections can cause fluid buildup to recur or remain in the middle ear for a prolonged period. This can cause your child to have difficulty hearing.
Tugging the Ears
If your child pulls at his or her ears repeatedly, he or she could be doing so in response to discomfort caused by an ear infection. Since a child's finger will only fit so far into his or her ear canal, pulling the outer portion of his or her ear may help relieve an itchy sensation caused by the fluid in the ear.
Loss of Balance
The middle ear is associated with the ability to maintain balance. During an ear infection, your child may seem clumsy or more prone to fall because he or she may be experiencing vertigo from the fluid buildup in the ears.
Even if your child is not normally fussy, the pain associated with an ear infection can make him or her cranky. Inconsolable crankiness should always be followed by a visit to the pediatrician to determine its source.
If you suspect that your child has developed an ear infection, schedule an appointment with a local pediatrician as soon as possible.
For more information, contact Hindman Derek or a similar medical professional.