Ear Infections in Little Ones: Signs It’s Time to See a Doctor

Health Education
November 13, 2020
3 min read

Ear infections in kids are common. If you have little ones, you have probably had experience with ear infection symptoms before. Children are much more likely to develop an ear infection from a cold or flu than adults are. You may wonder whether an ear infection is something you should be concerned about or if it will blow over on its own. At what point should you call the doctor? What should you look for?  Here are some ear infection symptoms in kids and which ones signal it’s time for a doctor’s visit.

Common Ear Infection Symptoms in Kids

Whether your child has a severe ear infection or just an ache that will last for a day or two, here are the ear infection symptoms you can expect:

  • Ear pain
  • Tugging or pulling at an ear
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Crying often, seemingly for no reason
  • Fussiness
  • Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
  • Loss of balance
  • High fever (100 F or higher)
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite

Kids may exhibit many or just a few of these ear infection symptoms. An ear infection will most likely develop during or right after children have the cold, flu, or seasonal allergies.

When to See a Doctor for an Ear Infection

If your child complains about their ear hurting for only a day, you should not worry. Ear infection symptoms that last more than a day are a sign that you should take them to the doctor. A quick checkup is all that is required to determine if a kid has an ear infection. Babies under six months of age should betaken to the doctor immediately if they start showing any signs of an ear infection, as a prolonged infection could damage their already sensitive hearing. 

For older kids, a doctor visit is warranted if their ear pain is severe and prevents them from acting normally. Any kind of discharge from the ear is also a sign you should see a doctor.  If your child is getting over a cold or other respiratory infection and is acting grouchy and not sleeping, but you aren’t sure what the problem is, take them to get checked by a medical professional. An ear infection is likely the cause of this irritability.

Ear Infection Treatment

Once you talk to a doctor, they will likely prescribe amoxicillin or another similar antibiotic to be taken over the next seven to ten days. They may also recommend that your child take pain relievers like children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen in order to lower fever and reduce ear pain. Ear drops are sometimes prescribed for the same reason. Even if you do not take your child to the doctor for a suspected ear infection, over-the-counter pain relief medicine can help them get over the sickness with less pain and irritability. Contact their pediatrician if they continue to show symptoms several days after taking medication.

Need a Doctor for Ear Infections in Kids?

If your child has an ear infection, you can take them to the pediatrician to get checked out and prescribed an antibiotic. If your kids don’t have a primary care provider or there are no available appointment times, BASS Medical Group is here to help. Their urgent care accepts walk-in appointments of all ages for a variety of routine care needs and diagnoses. They also have virtual calls with doctors to provide medical advice from the comfort of your own home. Call (925) 329-3718 or visit them online to learn more or schedule an appointment today.