Learn more about ear infections.

Signs & symptoms

What you should watch out for as a parent or caregiver is a combination of symptoms, such as fussiness or crying, pulling or tugging at an ear, discharge from an ear, and running a fever. Except for discharge from an ear, which might or might not present itself, these signs and symptoms are general enough to apply to other problems, such as teething.

If the symptoms don’t go away after a day, you should consult a doctor. If your child is younger than six months, you should consult a doctor promptly. If you observe discharge from the ear, contact a doctor right away.

How to treat ear infections

Common treatments for ear infections include over-the-counter pain medications and antibiotics. Because the Eustachian tubes of young children and infants are still developing, they are prone to infections. Children who experience chronic ear infections might need to have tubes inserted to drain the fluid. These tubes are temporary, typically lasting for six months to two years. Eventually the tubes generally fall out on their own, but rarely they are required to be surgically removed.

Seek treatment

Although ear infections are common, children are unique. Seek treatment from a doctor to protect your child’s long-term hearing. What works best for one child does not guarantee another child will respond in exactly the same way. Remember, simply because ear infections are common that doesn’t mean that they can be ignored.