Your child wakes you up in the middle of the night complaining of an earache and your first thought is, "another ear infection, here we go again." One of the hardest decisions to make when your child gets an ear infection is whether to take them to the doctor or wait for it to resolve on its own. No one likes to see their child in pain or discomfort, but going to the doctor can be expensive and sometimes there just isn't much they can do but suggest to give it time. This article compares going to the doctor vs. the wait and see approach.
Going to the Doctor
According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of an ear infection can indicate a number of conditions. It's important to get an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment. Call your child's doctor if:
- Symptoms last for more than a day
- Symptoms are present in a child less than 6 months of age
- Ear pain is severe
- Your infant or toddler is sleepless or irritable after a cold or other upper respiratory infection
- You observe a discharge of fluid, pus or bloody discharge from the ear
The Wait and See Approach
The wait and see approach can be a good option, with consultation with your doctor. There are many factors to take into account when waiting to seek medical attention, including those mentioned above. Have the following information at hand when you contact your doctor.
How old is the child?: This is a very important factor to take into consideration. Babies under 6 months old, will likely be recommended treatment by your doctor because they are at higher risk of developing serious illnesses, including bacteremia, a blood infection, according to Parents.
Has the child ever had an ear infection before?: Ear infection is extremely common in children. If your child gets an ear infection every few months and have been recommended by your doctor to wait it out, the wait and see approach might be recommended again. If your child has never experienced an ear infection, the doctor will likely want to check it out.
What symptoms does the child have?: The most common symptoms of ear infections are ear pain, impaired hearing, dizziness or impaired balance. If the child has a fever, has fluid coming out of their ear canal or symptoms seem to worsen, the doctor will likely recommend you bring the child in.
According to a summary of the latest American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on the treatment of ear infection, the wait and see approach may be the most appropriate course unless the child worsens or does not improve within 48-72 hours of symptom onset.
Ear Pain MD™ for Kids
One of the worst parts of having an ear infection is the pain, and no one wants to see their child suffer. As part of an overall approach to treating the pain associated with an ear infection, a doctor may recommend Ear Pain MD. Ear Pain MD is a new, fast-acting pain reliever that provides instant soothing relief. Ear Pain MD is not a treatment for ear infections but will help the associated pain. It is now available online at Amazon and in CVS stores nationwide.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
A doctor’s visit can be hard for many reasons and it is nice to know that sometimes it isn’t always suggested when talking to your doctor. Remember the tips above when talking to your doctor. Most importantly, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Trust your motherly instinct.