Most ear infections go away on
their own, although antibiotics are recommended for children under the age of 2 and for children at high risk for complications. You can treat your child at home with an
over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen
(such as Tylenol), a warm washcloth or heating pad on the ear, and rest.
Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20. Your
doctor may give you eardrops that can help your child's pain.
Your doctor can give your child
antibiotics, but ear infections often get better
without them. Talk about this with your doctor. Whether you use them will
depend on how old your child is and how bad the infection is.
Minor surgery to put tubes in the ears may help if your child has hearing
problems or repeat infections.
Sometimes after an infection, a child cannot hear well for a while. Call
your doctor if this lasts for 3 to 4 months. Children need to be able to hear
in order to learn how to talk.
There are many
ways to help prevent ear infections.
Do not smoke. Ear infections happen more
often to children who are around cigarette smoke. Even the fumes from tobacco
smoke on your hair and clothes can affect them.
Breast-feed your baby.
Make sure your child doesn't
go to sleep while sucking on a bottle.