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One of the most common reasons parents bring their child to the doctor is for an ear infection. Ear infections occur in two general categories, middle ear infections and outer ear infections.

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Middle Ear Infections

A middle ear infection, or otitis media, is an infection of the middle ear that occurs when mucus containing bacteria collects in the middle ear space. This can develop following a cold or viral upper respiratory infection, but not always. Middle ear infections may cause pain in one or both ears.

Symptoms of an ear infection in your child may include: tugging at the ear, poor sleep, fever, irritability, ear drainage, diminished appetite, or crying at night when lying down.

We are able to diagnose an ear infection by examining your child’s ear using an otoscope and will help determine the best course of treatment for your child. Some middle ear infections will get better on their own, but others may require oral antibiotics for treatment.

Outer Ear Infections

An outer ear infection, or otitis externa, is an infection of the ear canal. This type of ear infection is sometimes seen in swimmers, which is why it is often referred to as “swimmer’s ear.” Outer ear infections can develop when moisture and bacteria enter the ear, causing an infection of the skin in the ear canal.

Symptoms of outer ear infections may include painful swelling, discomfort to the touch, and discharge or pus.

We are able to diagnose an outer ear infection by using an otoscope to examine the ear and may recommend medicated ear drops to treat the infection.

Dr. Alex Hill is a pediatrician in the Allegro Pediatrics Bothell office.


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