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Healthy & Safety Info
Ear Infection Blues
If your baby hasn’t had an ear infection yet, odds are she will sometime soon. About 75 percent of children get at least one ear infection before age 3, mainly because their developing immune systems make them susceptible to the colds and respiratory infections that often lead to ear infections, and because the small size of their eustachian tubes makes them a handy trap for fluid and bacteria. Symptoms to watch for include ear pain (your baby might tug on her ears or cry if you touch them), ear drainage or discharge other than wax, fever, fussiness, loss of appetite, and trouble swallowing.
If you suspect an ear infection, call your pediatrician; she’ll want to check your baby out to make sure. If it is an infection, she’ll either prescribe antibiotics or recommend that you wait it out, since many ear infections will clear up on their own within a few days. In the meantime, she might recommend you give your baby acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain and bring down fever.
If your poor baby gets ear infection after ear infection, she might be a candidate to have tubes surgically inserted into her eardrums. The procedure sounds scary, but it’s fairly simple, and the ventilation tubes keep infection-causing fluid and bacteria from building up — they’re lifesavers for infection-prone babies and their moms. Plus, the procedure can help your little one hear better.
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