your child complaining of an earache? It could be an
infection. Children are more prone to ear infections than
adults, and they can be painful. Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo
Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist says,
"Ear infections can be caused by both viruses and
bacteria. Some of the common cold viruses can cause
inflammation of the middle ear.
are common bacterial causes of ear infection, as well, says
Dr. Rajapakse. "The most common is called Streptococcus
pneumoniae." These bacteria are spread through coughing,
sneezing, and close contact with an infected person.
prevent ear infections in children, you should:
Practice good hand-washing.
Ensure your child is up to date on vaccinations.
Avoid secondhand smoke.
Breast-feed your baby.
bottle-feed, hold your baby in an upright position.
infections can be uncomfortable. If your child is having
painful symptoms, there are ways to help. Dr. Rajapakse says,
"If the child is having pain, medications like ibuprofen
or acetaminophen can help to alleviate some of that
pain." Many ear infections will get better on their own
without needing an antibiotic — even if they are caused by
bacteria. You should talk to your health care provider to see
if watchful waiting is a good option for your child especially
if he or she is generally healthy and his or her symptoms are
Rajapakse says to always take your child to a health care
provider if you are concerned or if symptoms persist.