Is your child not feeling well? Wondering if she or he might have an ear infection?

Here are some common symptoms of ear infections and some advice from the Federal Citizen (FCIC) Information Center about what to do.

We know: 6 Signs of Ear Infection

What is an ear infection?

Itís an inflammation of the middle ear, the area behind the eardrum. The middle ear space usually contains air, but it can become filled with fluid. This sometimes happens when a tube between the ear and the throat become blocked, usually as the result of a cold.

What happens?

There are two types of ear conditions that occur when fluid builds up in this area. Each can occur in just one or both ears.


Ear infection (acute otitis media) is an infection of the middle ear where fluid can remain in the ear even after the infection is gone.


Middle ear fluid (otitis media with effusion) is fluid in the ear that is not infected.

What are the common symptoms of fluid in the middle ear?

Some common signs are:

  • When a child pulls on an ear
  • When a child says the ear hurts
  • When there is drainage from the ear
  • A fever (could mean an infection)
  • When a child is irritable
  • When a child is sleeping poorly

Are the symptoms always present?

No. They can range from all to none. Usually the child has a cold. The best way to find out is to ask you doctor to check.

Whatís the usual treatment?

When there is fluid in the ear, but no infection, the fluid will go away by in three to six months in most cases. Otherwise, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, and in severe cases, surgery to insert a temporary tube to get more air into the middle ear.


When the ear is infected, antibiotics will often make the pain and fever decrease within two days. Again, for severe cases of chronic ear infections, surgery may be needed to insert a temporary tube.


In all cases, its helpful to have your doctor monitor the situation and prevent it from getting worse.



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