Earaches are common in small children, but not all earaches warrant a visit to the provider’s office. A number of things can cause earaches, but in general, ear infections are the most concerning.
In this blog, our providers at Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma in Claremore, Oklahoma, explain what can cause earaches and when you should consider seeing a provider for your child.
Causes of earaches
A number of things can cause earaches. For example, the eustachian tubes — which help balance pressure in the ear and drain fluid from it — are smaller in children. As a result, it can be more difficult for children to eliminate fluid, which can cause earaches.
However, there are many other conditions that can cause earaches, such as the following:
- Ear infections
- Wax buildup
- Dental abscesses
You should also keep in mind certain environmental factors, especially when it comes to ear infections. Children are more likely to develop ear infections if they’re exposed to tobacco smoke, live in an area with high air pollution, or suffer from seasonal allergies. Ear infections are also more likely to occur in the cold seasons.
When you should visit a provider
As mentioned earlier, ear infections are generally more concerning. Children are more prone to infections, because their immune systems are still developing and aren’t as robust as those of healthy adults.
If your child shows any of the following symptoms, this could signal an ear infection:
- Crying a lot
- Pulling at the ear
- Trouble balancing
- Hearing issues
If these symptoms persist — and especially if they’re accompanied by fever and/or don’t improve within three days — you should visit a provider for your child. And also know that these are just guidelines. If you have any concerns about your child whatsoever, bring them to a provider or call one for guidance.
Treating ear infections
Infections of the ear can be caused by viruses or bacteria. For bacterial infections, our providers may prescribe antibiotics. However, if an infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics won’t work. Instead, our staff may closely monitor your child’s symptoms to see if they get worse.
We’ll also give you guidance on how to help your child’s immune system thrive, such as by suggesting healthy food choices. Fortunately, viruses often cause mild symptoms, and some infections go away on their own.
In any case, make sure if your child’s symptoms persist that you take them to a provider. If left untreated, an ear infection could even lead to meningitis, which is swelling of the tissue around the brain and spinal cord. This condition is rare, but it can cause a number of complications, such as hearing loss, brain damage, and even death.
If your child has an earache and you want compassionate care for your child, we can help. To learn more, call 918-626-1186 or book an appointment online with Pediatric Practitioners of Oklahoma today.