Understanding Middle Ear Infections

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Understanding middle ear infections

Middle ear infections, which occur behind the eardrum, are most common in children under age five. These infections are usually caused by bacteria or viruses and often begin when infections that cause sore throats, colds, or other respiratory or breathing problems spread to the middle ear. Symptoms include fever, severe ear pain, or any kind of discharge from the ear.

Watching and waiting
If your child is diagnosed with an ear infection, your health care provider may suggest a period of “watchful waiting.” This is because most ear infections usually improve within the first few days and resolve on their own within one to two weeks without any treatment.

How much do you know about this illness? Take this quiz below to find out.

1. An ear infection usually begins with a cold. T or F

2. Ear infections typically affect babies and young children. T or F

3. Difficulty sleeping and loss of balance are two symptoms of ear infections. T or F

4. Babies who are given a bottle while they lie down are at less risk for ear infections. T or F

5. Children who live in homes where there is cigarette smoke are more likely to get ear infections. T or F


Answers: 1. T, 2. T, 3. T, 4. F, 5. T

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