Ear infections are one of the more common reasons for children visiting a pediatrician's office on account of health problems. Many parents constantly worry about it. What causes this condition? How do parents know their child is suffering from one?

An ear infection is basically an inflammation of the middle portion, the part responsible for transmitting sounds from the eardrum to the inner ear. With the help of the Eustachian tubes, the middle section secrete a fluid which drains to the back of the throat. If this fluid does not drain, it accumulates in the middle ear and serves as a breeding ground for bacteria. This event causes an infection.

What Are The Common Symptoms Of An Ear Infection?

Many times, parents may find it difficult to identify the symptoms. It often begins with a cold or flu. A child may experience a running nose or cough, followed by fever. This leads the child to become cranky as they constantly touch the ear in a bid to ease the discomfort.

The child will also experience:

• Vomiting
• An unpleasant smell coming out from your child's ear
• No appetite
• Inability to hear
• Trouble falling asleep
• A whitish / yellowish fluid

Why Are Children More Affected By Ear Infections?

Immature Immune System : A child's immune system is not as developed as an adult. This makes it harder for children to fight off harmful viruses, bacteria and infections.

Smaller Eustachian Tubes : The Eustachian tubes of children are smaller and more level. It becomes difficult for fluids to drain out of the ear, even when they function normally. When the tubes are blocked / swollen with mucus, it becomes all the more difficult for the fluid to drain out completely.

Trapping of Bacteria in the Adenoids : Adenoids help to fight off infections by trapping bacteria entering through the mouth. When bacteria get trapped in the adenoids, it causes infection which passes to the middle ear.

Treatment Of Infections

More often than not, the pain disappears within 24 hours, so it does you good to wait for a day. If symptoms persist, it is time to contact the pediatrician. Some doctors prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection. If the infection is mild, pain relievers or drops also help to alleviate the pain. Be sure your child takes the antibiotics as prescribed and after that, return for a follow-up visit to check whenever the infection has cleared out.