Ear Infections

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Ear Infection in Austin, TX

Ear infections are among the most common reasons for a visit to the pediatrician's office – surpassed only by “colds.” For most, they are an occasional inconvenience, but for a few they can be recurrent or persistent, causing discomfort, sleepless nights and possibly resulting in hearing loss or speech delay. When a child has an upper respiratory infection, throat infection or allergy, the Eustachian tube (which connects the middle ear space to the back of the nose) can become swollen, blocking the drainage of the middle ear. Retained fluid may become infected with bacteria or viruses resulting in an acute ear infection. The pediatricians at North Austin Pediatrics in Austin and Cedar Park are skilled in treating your child's ear infections and returning them to good health.

Ear Infection in Austin, TX

Ear Infection Symptoms:

e older children who do not have a high fever and are not severely ill may be observed for 1-3 days, along with measures to make the symptoms are familiar to many parents: ear pain or irritability, restless sleep, loss of appetite, decreased hearing in the affected ear, and possibly fever or ear drainage – though these are often not present. Risk factors for the development of ear infections include age (most often 3 months to three years), family history of problems with ear infections, recurrent colds or allergies, exposure to tobacco smoke, and bottle-feeding while lying down. While there is no sure-fire way to avoid ear infections completely, avoiding the risk factors that you can, breastfeeding your child and making sure their immunizations are up to date, including Flu vaccine when available, will help.

In the past, ear infections were almost always treated with antibiotics. In cases of children with persistent fluid behind the eardrum, they were sometimes put on “suppressive” antibiotics once a day for long-term treatment in an effort to keep their ears clear. This is no longer the case. Additional research on the natural course ear infections may take, and concerns over the increasing resistance of many bacteria to available antibiotics have generated new guidelines regarding treatment. These include careful differentiation between a true infection and just “fluid” behind the ear, and emphasize pain management with Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and ear drops. The good news is that antibiotics may not always be required or even recommended.

Some more comfortable and help control any other symptoms they may be experiencing. Very often, ear infections will resolve without use of antibiotics, thus avoiding a struggle with your child over taking medicine. In addition, decreasing overall antibiotic use will decrease resistance. There is also the decreased incidence of side effects or allergic reactions which may be encountered whenever an antibiotic is prescribed. Fortunately, this new approach has not demonstrated an increase in the rare complications associated with untreated ear infections. This new “wait and watch” approach is appropriate for many, but not all children – especially those with other conditions that may affect the course of their illness or those younger than 6 months. See your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis and to discuss the best treatment plan for your child.

For more information on Ear Infections in the Austin, TX area call North Austin Pediatrics P.A. at (512) 491-5125 today!