Almost half of all children will have at least one middle ear infection before they are 1-year old, and two-thirds of them will have had at least one such infection by age 3. Of these, almost half will have had repeated bouts.
Two Main Types of Ear Infections
In acute otitis media (AOM), parts of the ear are infected and swollen, with fluid and mucus trapped inside the ear. AOM can be extremely painful.
In otitis media with effusion (fluid), or OME, fluid and mucus stay trapped in the ear after the infection is over. OME makes it harder for the ear to fight new infections. This constant buildup of fluid can also affect your child's hearing.
Why Do Ear Infections Happen?
In infants and children, the eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ear to the back of the throat and nose, are shorter and more horizontal than those of grown-ups. Babies and small children are particularly prone to otitis media because they get lots of colds. What are some of the symptoms?
Parents should suspect an ear infection if their normally happy child becomes irritable, has a runny nose and fever, doesn’t want to eat or has trouble hearing.
What will your doctor do?