An ear infection, which is an inflammation of the middle ear, can happen to anyone but it’s more common in children. In fact, it’s one of the most common reasons why parents bring their children to the doctor.
Causes of Ear Infection in Children
Most cases of ear infections are caused by bacteria. It usually begins with the child having a sore throat, cold, or any type of upper respiratory infection. If this infection is caused by bacteria, the same bacteria may cause the ear infection. However, if the upper respiratory infection is caused by a virus, the bacterial ear infection may happen as a result of a secondary infection.
There are several reasons why children get ear infections more frequently than adults.
For one, they have shorter, more horizontal eustachian tubes making it easier for bacteria and viruses to find their way into the middle ear. These tubes are also narrower in kids, making it difficult for fluid to drain out of the system.
Signs and Symptoms
Ear pain (also known as an earache) is the most common symptom of ear infection in children. It may be accompanied with:
- Loss of appetite
- Yellow, brown, or white drainage from the ear (this could indicate a ruptured eardrum)
- Difficulty in hearing
If your child presents any of these signs and symptoms, it’s very important to see a specialist immediately. Although most ear infections don’t cause long-term problems, some cases can lead to complications such as loss of hearing, speech issues, and the spread of infection.
Greater Knoxville ENT has doctors who have years of experience in diagnosing and treating ear infections in children. For appointments, you may call us at (865) 244-4396.