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Most babies will have an ear infection before the age of 1, and these infections can sometimes be difficult to recognize. Left untreated, ear infections can lead to other problems including hearing disorders and speech impediments. Identification and effective treatment of infections can often be done without additional medical intervention. There are a variety of home ear infection remedies, though, often it is advisable to consult your pediatrician.
As a child will not be able to communicate their ailment directly, recognizing the signs can aid in prompt resolution. Ear infections can typically be identified by fever, irritability, poor sleep, and pulling or tugging on the ears. In most cases, a home ear infection remedy is sufficient, but some may not clear without antibiotics.
There are a variety of ear infection remedies available including antibiotic and non-drug treatment. Applying heat to the ear using a warm wash cloth, compress, heating pad, or water bottle may help to relieve symptoms and clear the infection. Additionally, as many minor ear infections will remedy themselves, relief may be provided by anti-inflammatory OTC medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. In some cases, though, an antibiotic may be used to clear bacterial infections of the auditory canal.
If a child is susceptible to infections, experiencing three or more in one year, it may be worth considering ear tubes. Tubes provide additional ventilation and drainage to prevent fluid buildup. These tubes typically stay in place for 6-12 months and often fall out on their own.