Treat Ear Infection in Babies: Antibiotics & Home Remedies

An ear infection in babies is a very common complication of a cold or flu infection. How is it treated? Should antibiotics be taken? Learn the answers.

In case babies cry more in comparison to normal, are fussy and hold their ear, then they may be suffering from an infection of the ear. According to estimates, 90% of children suffer from ear infection till they become three years of age. A cold is often followed by an ear infection. The cause is usually a virus or bacteria. The Eustachian tube, which is narrower and shorter in children, gets swollen and inflamed due to infection. This leads to pain and pressure in the ear. What is baby ear infection treatment?

Antibiotics for Baby Ear Infection

Many kids suffer from ear infections. These infections are generally present behind eardrum in middle ear. Bacterial infections are treated by doctors with antibiotics, which are strong drugs to kill bacteria.

Children, some babies and infants require antibiotics. However, using antibiotics very often may be harmful due to following reasons.

In majority of the cases, antibiotics may not be required as…

  •  Ear infections caused due to viruses are not treated by them.
  •  Pain is not relieved by them.
  •  Usually, infections due to virus and in some cases bacteria get better on their own within 2-3 days, particularly in kids greater than two years of age.

In case you feel that your kid is suffering from infection of ear, then you should make a call to the office of your physician and describe their symptoms. Usually, you will be asked by your physician to wait for a couple of days before you take your kid to them.

The main symptom of infection of ear is pain, usually on day one. Or your kid may develop fever.

Start baby ear infection treatment by giving the kid an OTC pain reliever including:

  •  Ibuprofen (generic and children’s Motrin)
  •  Acetaminophen (generic and children’s or infant’s Tylenol)

Pain relievers form an important part of treatment and generally you may require only them to treat ear infection in your baby.

There Are Side Effects of Antibiotics

When antibiotics are given to children at the beginning of infection of ear, they may develop allergic reactions due to the drug and symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting. Moreover, the friendly bacteria present in the gut may get killed due to antibiotics, resulting in digestive problems.

Overusing Antibiotics May Create Problems

Antibiotics may help in the growth of bacteria that are drug-resistant and difficult to kill. They result in diseases that are difficult and costlier to treat. This also raises the risk of side effects and complications. The drug-resistant bacteria may also get spread to others.

When Is Baby Ear Infection Treatment with Antibiotics Required?

In case the infection does not get better in few days and causes severe pain, then it is more likely to be caused due to bacteria.

In some cases immediate treatment is required. The following children often require antibiotics immediately:

  •  Infants who are of 6 months of age or younger
  •  Babies of age between 6 months and 2 years in whom ear pain is moderate to severe
  •  Children of age 2 or more who develop a fever of 102.2 degree F or more
  •  Children who have another illness, which can make the infection difficult to heal, such as: cleft palate, an immune disorder, down syndrome and cochlear implant

Home Remedies for Baby Ear Infection

  1.  Warm Compress

Place a moist, warm compress on the kid’s ear for around 10-15 minutes. This will help in reducing the pain.

  1.  Warm Oil

In case no fluid is draining from the ear of your child and there is no suspicion of eardrum rupture, then put a couple of drops of slightly warm or room temperature sesame oil or olive oil in the ear having infection.

  1.  Stay Hydrated

As a part of baby ear infection treatment, make sure that your child is adequately hydrated. Offer them fluids very often. The act of swallowing fluids can help in opening the blocked Eustachian tube, thereby, enhancing the drainage of trapped fluids.

  1.  Elevate the Head of Baby

Elevate the head of the crib slightly to improve drainage of sinuses of your baby. Instead of placing pillows under the head of your baby, place them beneath the mattress.

  1.  Use Homeopathic Eardrops

Extracts of garlic, lavender, mullein, St. John’s wort and calendula in olive oil are present in homeopathic ear drops and they help in relieving pain and inflammation.

When to Visit the Physician

Visit the physician if the following signs and symptoms are present in your child:

  •  Fever greater than 100.4 degree F (38 degree C) in case your infant is less than three months old, and greater than 102.2 degree F (39 degree C) if your kid is older than three months.
  •  Discharge of pus or blood from ears.

Moreover, if your child has infection of ear and it does not get better after 3-4 days, then visit a physician.

How to Prevent Baby Ear Infection

After discussing baby ear infection treatment, let’s discuss the steps that you may take to decrease the risk of your baby to get an infection.

Breastfeed Your Baby

It is recommended to breastfeed your kid for at least 6-12 months. Antibodies present in mother’s milk can provide protection to babies from not only ear infections but also a host of other illnesses.

Avoid Exposure to Smoke (Secondhand)

Don’t let your baby being exposed to secondhand smoke as it can increase the frequency and severity of ear infections.

Maintain Proper Position of Bottle

In case you feed your baby by bottle, hold your infant in semi-upright position to prevent the flow of formula in the Eustachian tubes. Don’t prop bottle due to same reason.

Maintain Healthy Environment

Avoid exposure of your baby to environments in which there is abundance of flu and cold bugs. If some family member or you are sick, take precautions to keep your baby away from the germs.

Have Vaccinations

Ensure that your baby is regularly getting vaccinated and their vaccine schedule is up-to-date such as of pneumococcal vaccines and flu shots.



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