NHS

Ear problems

A baby's ears need to be treated with care

Babies may develop some sort of ear problem at certain times. Most children have grown out of ear infections by the age of seven. Most ear infections are caused by a virus which will get better by itself and will not need antibiotics.

Babies have some natural protection against infections in the first few weeks - this is boosted by breastfeeding. In babies and toddlers, bacteria pass from the nose to the ears more easily. Ear infections can be painful and your child may just need extra cuddles and painkillers from the Pharmacist. Your child may have swollen glands in their neck - this is the body's way of fighting infection.

Children who live in households where people smoke (passive smoking) or who have a lot of contact with other children, like those who go to nursery, are more likely to get ear infections. Speak to your Health Visitor about safely cleaning your babies ears as they can be easily damaged.

Health Visitor’s tips

What are the signs of an ear infection?

The signs are a raised temperature, general irritability and pain or discomfort. They may even have a pus-like discharge, which can also be associated with a blocked feeling in the ear or hearing loss. Although most ear infections settle down without any serious effects, there can be mild hearing loss for a short time (two to three weeks).

1

They are hot, grumpy, have swollen glands, are off their food and have a cold.

2

Your child has lots of contact with other children. They may have an ear infection.

3

Go to your Practice Nurse or your GP, who will look at your child’s ears to try to find the cause of the problem.


The above information cannot replace specialist treatment. If you are worried call NHS 111 or contact a Practice Nurse or your GP.

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