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How do I know if my child has an ear infection?

By November 30, 2020September 15th, 2021No Comments

According to, five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday! It’s important for parents to understand the symptoms of a childhood ear infection so that your child can get treated. Children can’t always articulate what they are feeling, so parents knowing the signs can save your child from pain and avoid partial hearing-loss from an untreated ear infection. The Cleveland Clinic estimates that 25% of all children will have repeated ear infections before age 5.

An ear infection occurs when the ear gets inflamed due to bacteria from fluid build-up. Most common is the infection ‘acute otitis media’. This happens when the middle ear gets swollen and infected because fluid is trapped behind the eardrum, causing ear pain, fever, or more. Children are more likely to get an ear infection than adults because their ear passages are narrow and short.  If left untreated, more severe ear infections can occur or long-term problems could develop. 

Ear infections often happen to children before they’ve learned how to talk, so ear infection symptoms may be difficult to detect. In a small child that can’t verbalize ear infection symptoms, look for: 

  • Crying more than usual
  • Fussiness
  • Tugging or pulling at an ear
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
  • Loss of balance
  • Fever of 100 F (38 C) or higher
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Loss of appetite
  • Ear pain, especially when lying down

Persistent middle ear infections can lead to speech and balance problems, hearing loss, poor school performance or changes in the eardrum structure as children develop through adulthood. Early detection can make it easier to manage and treat your child’s pain.

Doctors diagnose childhood ear infections using a lighted instrument for viewing inside the ear, called an otoscope, to look at the ears, throat, and nasal passages under magnification. With myphysician360’s Ear Infection Kit, you can now diagnose ear infections from the comfort of your home with a digital otoscope! The over-the-counter kit includes a reusable digital otoscope and comes with a telemedicine visit with one of our medical professionals in five minutes or less, any day of the year. Add it to your first aid kit and use it whenever you need it. Additional medical consultations cost only $29.95 once you already have a myphysician360 digital otoscope. 

Sometimes what seems like ear infection symptoms aren’t caused by infection but it’s better to be safe. The only way to know for sure and get appropriate treatment is to speak with a doctor. Seeking care for a childhood ear infection can be very frustrating and time-consuming. Order now and stay prepared!