Hi, I’m Dr. Rodney Lusk, Director of the Boys
Town Ear, Nose and Throat Institute. Infections of the ear can involve the external
canal or the middle ear. Most ear infections in children are in the
middle ear. Most children will have an infection by age
three years. By six years of age, 40 percent of children will have had at least three ear
infections. Ear infections can be classified by the type
of fluid in the middle ear. They can also be classified by how long the infection has
been present. Acute, meaning sudden in onset or chronic meaning the fluid has been present
for weeks. Symptoms of acute middle ear infections include: sudden onset of pain associate with
crying and irritability, tugging on one ear or head banging, fever greater than 100 degrees
but it may be low grade, fussy at night or trouble sleeping, difficulty hearing, there may be poor
balance, fluid or drainage of infected material is associated with a ruptured eardrum.
Please see your primary care physician if symptoms persist greater than a day or are severe.
If your child is diagnosed with an ear infection, your docotor may prescribe an antibiotic and
may suggest the use of acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief. If there are no symptoms,
your doctor may elect to observe the fluid but do regular checks to see if it has cleared.
Follow up exams are very important to make sure the middle ear fluid has resolved. For
more information and videos on pediatric ear, nose and throat problems, please visit boystownent.org.