Why has my baby got an ear infection?
Babies and children are forever getting colds, and it’s just the same with ear infections. Older children can tell you when their ear hurts or show you where the pain is whereas a newborn cannot. Be aware that if they are crying and you’ve done everything you can to soothe them, it might be their ears hurting them.
Viruses cause most ear infections; therefore, they get better by themselves and will not respond to antibiotics. Don’t try and clean out the ear by putting anything into it, like cotton buds, eardrops or oil. You can give them baby paracetamol to cover the pain for a while, however, if the problem persists or worsens and you suspect an ear infection, take your child to the doctor. The doctor will then examine the ear and prescribe medicine if needed.
What is glue ear?
Persistent ear infections could be something called ‘glue ear’. This is the build-up of a sticky fluid in the middle ear. The middle ear contains tiny bones that need to vibrate freely in air. If fluid fills this area, it can severely impair hearing.
Being near people who smoke will increase their chances of getting glue ear, and it also means the condition will clear up more slowly. Glue ear usually clears up, but if not, it can lead to speech and language problems for your child as they have hearing impairments. Your child may then be referred to ENT (ear, nose and throat) consultant who may decide to put ‘grommets’ in your child’s ear. This involves a small operation to allow the gluey secretions in the ear to drain.
Your baby or toddler may also have large tonsils and adenoids. If your child is referred to an ENT paediatrician, they may decide to remove any enlarged adenoids or tonsils especially if your baby’s hearing and sleeping problems continue.