What is it?
Middle ear infections (medical term “otitis media”) are very common among babies and young children as they have smaller tubes connecting the middle ear to the throat. This makes it easier for germs to travel up to the middle ear and cause an infection. In some cases, pus or fluid can build up in the ear canal behind the eardrum, which causes pain and mild deafness. Usually the fluid slowly clears by itself.
Signs and symptoms
Four out of five children will get a middle ear infection at least once.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Discharge from the ear
- Difficulties in sleeping
- Loss of appetite
What should you do?
Managing pain for your child is the main priority when dealing with middle ear infections. Talk to your Guardian pharmacist or GP about suitable medication. A middle ear infection resolves itself on its own in approximately 80% of children. If the symptoms persist beyond two days, you should see a GP.
To assist in the resolution of the infection your Guardian pharmacist recommends your child sleeps on two or more pillows to keep their head elevated (provided they are old enough to use pillows).
The ear canal cleans itself with a waxy secretion called cerumen. Cerumen is resistant to water, sticky (to trap dust) and migrates out of the ear canal to self-clean the ear.
Sometimes, the wax can build up and cause symptoms including mild deafness and a sensation of fullness inside the ear. This condition is harmless and can be easily treated. In some cases, the wax build-up loosens and falls out by itself without the need for intervention.
Cotton swabs may push wax deeper into the ear canal. Use cotton swabs only on the outside of your ear or, better yet, try wiping the area with a warm, damp washcloth. Your Guardian pharmacist can also offer drops to help loosen wax and ease its removal.