Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates
Otolaryngologists and Head & Neck Surgeons located in Lawrence and Ottawa, KS
More than 80% of children will get at least one ear infection. Our team at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates works closely with local primary care doctors to bring effective, compassionate care to our young patients. When you bring your child in with an ear infection, we quickly implement the best treatment, so your child can get back to their active and happy life. If your child has an ear infection, call and request an appointment at one of our offices in Lawrence or Ottawa.
Ear Infection Q & A
What causes an ear infection?
We understand that an ear infection is a source of tremendous discomfort that begins as a cold, allergy, or upper respiratory problem, then builds into an infection behind your child’s eardrum.
The source of your child’s discomfort is the fluid that builds up behind the eardrum, which causes inflammation and pain. We closely monitor your child’s health to be sure they make a full recovery, checking to see that the fluid goes away and their hearing returns to normal.
We keep a close watch because we’re concerned that if fluid stays in the ear for weeks, it can start to damage the eardrum or the temporary hearing loss can cause delays in learning.
Why are children more susceptible to ear infections?
Young children are more susceptible because the natural drainage tubes that run from behind the eardrum to the back of the throat (eustachian tubes) are narrower and more horizontal and prone to fluid buildup.
When inflammation from a cold, swelling, or an excess of mucus occurs in the eustachian tubes, the opening becomes blocked. That forces fluids into the middle ear, which can lead to infection.
What are the symptoms of an ear infection?
The primary symptom of ear infections is a pain, which may be severe.
Many of our parents with young children also notice that their child has a hard time sleeping, or keeps tugging at their ear. Many children also develop a fever. The fluid behind the eardrum can make your child’s hearing worse, so they may seem to be ignoring you.
If you see fluid draining from your child’s ear, the fluid may have broken through the eardrum.
How is an ear infection treated?
Each child’s treatment is individualized, based on age, the severity of the infection, and whether the infections are chronic. Keep in mind that most ear infections are caused by viruses and get better in a few days without antibiotics.
At Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates, we may recommend watching and waiting for 48-72 hours to see if the infection clears on its own. If we ask you to wait, we’ll be sure to talk with you about medication to relieve pain.
If fluid stays in the ear longer than three months, or the infection continues to reoccur, we may recommend placing tubes in your child’s ears to break the cycle of infections and improve their hearing.
If your child suffers from ear pain that is severe or not going away, or if there is fluid draining out of their ear, call us at Lawrence Otolaryngology Associates right away, and request an appointment.