Few things can make a parent feel as helpless as when your toddler wakes up in the middle of the night sobbing in pain from an earache. Ear infections are the number one reason kids visit their pediatrician and the number one reason kids are prescribed antibiotics. But if you understand the signs and symptoms of an ear infection and how to treat it, you'll be able to make your child feel better faster. Here's what you need to know:
Understand What It Is
The ear is comprised of three parts: the external ear (the part that sticks out from your head); the middle (media) ear behind the eardrum, which is connected to the back of the nose via the Eustachian tube; and the inner ear, where the nerves and balance center are. The kind of ear infection that afflicts most kids is when fluid builds up behind the eardrum (during a cold, for example) in the middle ear and becomes infected, known as acute otitis media (AOM).