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3/22/22 blog post

when to be concerned about frequent ear infections

young girl with ear infection

If you’re a parent, it’s likely you’ve had a kiddo with an ear infection or two or three! Ear infections are very common, especially between the ages of six months and two years, and nearly every child will get an ear infection at some point.

Ear infections typically develop following an upper respiratory infection, like a cold. An ear infection occurs when mucus or swollen tissues from a cold block the Eustachian tube, which connects the ear to the back of the throat and helps ventilate and drain the middle ear. This blockage creates pain and pressure.

Symptoms of an ear infection may include:

  • Fever
  • Earache
  • Pulling on his/her ear
  • Trouble eating, drinking, or sleeping
  • Fluid draining from the ear

If you suspect your child has an ear infection, reach out to their pediatrician or schedule an appointment at one of Dayton Children’s Kids Express locations. If they continue to have frequent ear infections, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment to see a Dayton Children's ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.

Treatment for an ear infection may vary based on several factors, including:

  • The frequency of the child’s ear infections
  • The severity of the ear infection
  • The child’s age and risk factors
  • How long the infection has lasted

antibiotic or no antibiotic?

In some cases, a child may be given an antibiotic to treat the infection. In other instances, the provider may prefer the “wait-and-see” approach and will prescribe the child medicine for pain relief, without the antibiotic.

should I be concerned about frequent ear infections? 

While most ear infections clear up on their own without any problems, frequent ear infections are painful and as a parent, you are probably looking for solutions to provide your child some relief! In many cases, ear tubes may be the answer! (Check out our is it time for ear tubes quiz below!) 

If your child has had more than four ear infections in the last twelve months, it’s likely they’ll be a good candidate for ear tube surgery. But, not to worry! Ear tubes are the most common outpatient procedure in the United States with 1 out of 15 kids needing ear tubes in their lifetime. Our ENT specialists can talk through the options with you and appointments with the ENT team can be made online. 

is it time for ear tubes?
There are also other factors that may contribute to your child being a good candidate for ear tubes. Take our 30-second quiz to find out! 

take our ear tube candidate quiz

about ear tube surgery

The surgery itself only takes 10-15 minutes and requires a very low level of anesthesia. During surgery, the pediatric ENT provider will make a small incision in the ear canal and insert a small tube, which serves as an escape valve so the pressure in the ear can get released. As the ear drum heals, the tube will fall out approximately 6 to 18 months after surgery.

While it’s still possible to have an ear infection after getting ear tubes, it’s much easier to diagnosis and they become a lot less frequent following surgery.

The Dayton Children’s difference
Ear tube surgery at Dayton Children’s is performed at our outpatient surgery centers located at our main campus in Dayton and south campus in Springboro. Our pediatric ENT team is uniquely prepared to treat children requiring ear tubes. From our pediatric fellowship-trained ENT providers to our child life specialists and anesthesia team, we understand that kids are not just little adults and require special, comprehensive care. 

schedule an appointment contact us

You can make an appointment by calling central scheduling at 937-641-4000 or schedule online!

schedule now

For more information about pediatric ENT at Dayton Children’s, please call 937-641-4647.