Ear infections affect most young children; 50 percent of children under the age of 3 will have had at least 3 infections. Ear infections occur when the middle of the ear becomes inflamed; this usually occurs as a result of other viral and bacterial infections, including colds.
Symptoms of ear infections
Many babies will suffer from colds at the same time as they have ear infections so common symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches and a raised temperature. Specific symptoms of ear infections include discharge from the ear, inflammation inside the ear (which the doctor will be able to see with an auriscope) and emotional changes. Many babies pull their ears when they have an ear infection.
Treating ear infections
If the ear infection has been caused by a viral infection it usually has to run its course as antibiotics cannot fight viruses; antibiotics may be prescribed to tackle other symptoms and fight off infections that have not been caused by a viral illness. Over the counter pain relief can also be used to ease painful symptoms.