Childhood ear infections are incredibly common. In fact, an ear infection is the second most common illness diagnosed in children. This is why it is so important that a parent knows what to look for and how to detect an ear infection. Here are some common signs of ear infections.

1. Trouble Swallowing

When a child has an infection in their ear it might be painful for them to swallow. This means that even though the child may be hungry, they may not take a bottle or the breast very well. They might even start to suck for a few moments and then pull off crying. This is because each time they swallow it hurts.

If your child is in so much pain that they are refusing to eat, they could become dehydrated. This will make the infection worse, and could cause other problems. If your child is having a hard time eating, you should call the doctor right away.

2. Tugging On Their Ear

Another sign that the child has an ear infection is that they are continually tugging on their ear. Young children, who are unable to fully communicate, may not be able to show you that they are in pain. If you notice that the child is flicking their ear, leaning to one side while pulling on their ear or doing anything else that is unusual with their ear, this might mean that they have an ear infection.

It should be noted that some children pull on their ears when they are teething. Before you take the child in to a doctor for an ear infection, rule out that the ear tugging isn't because of teething.

3. A Fever

If the child has a serious ear infection, they will probably have a fever along with it. Some children run mild grade fevers while they teethe, usually under 100 degrees. This is totally normal and isn't anything to worry about.

Anything over 100.4 degrees is considered an actual fever. Children generally do not run a fever unless they have a bacterial or viral infection. Viral infections cannot be treated with antibiotics. In most cases you will simply have to wait until they pass. However, bacterial infections can be treated.

If you are concerned that your child might have an ear infection, take them to a doctor like Pediatric Associates of Alexandria. The doctor will do a simple examination to test for an infection and provide treatment if necessary.