Otitis Media is an infection of the middle ear, right behind the eardrum, and is the most common ear infection found in babies and small children. Ear infections normally occur in a child that has a cold already. Symptoms include:
- Ear pain – tugging on ear
- Hearing loss
- Fever above 100 F
- Fluid draining from ear
- Cries during feeding
Ear infections are not contagious; however, the colds that cause them are. Otitis Media can be caused by a number of viruses and bacteria. Some children are more prone to recurring ear infections than others.
A doctor can diagnose ear infections by looking into your baby’s ear with an otoscope. While some ear infections clear up on their own within a few days, other infections require antibiotics and perhaps some ear drops for pain. After treatment, some children may have fluid in the ear lasting up to two weeks. As the fluid clears, the infection will too.
To prevent further ear infections:
- Breastfeed your baby. The antibodies in the breast milk will build up your baby’s immune system to protect him from Otitis Media, among other things.
- When bottle feeding your baby, feed him in an upright position.
- Keep your baby away from cigarette smoke and dust.