Although widespread vaccination efforts have dramatically lowered the rate of chronic ear infections, about four out of every five children will have at least one during their childhood. Young children are particularly prone to ear infections because their Eustachian tubes are still developing, and bacteria are fostered in that welcoming environment. What parents may not realize is that when children have ear infections, the symptoms can seem like teething. Young children may not have the vocabulary to express the location of their discomfort or pain, and parents may mistake their children’s mood for the routine grouchiness of teething.
Of course, if you see any fluid coming out of your children’s ears, you should immediately take them to an urgent medical care facility. An urgent care express facility is designed to deal with common childhood complaints, from ear infections to sprains or even broken bones. While the range of services rendered at local urgent care facilities may vary, they can provide medical care for most common injuries and complaints. If your child needs vaccinations for school, it’s preferable to take them to an urgent care for kids. There’s no need to expose young children to the airborne bacteria and stubborn viruses that take up residence in the typical emergency room: one-third of all respondents in a recent study said that their hospital room needed to be cleaned.
In general, urgent care hours extend past normal doctor’s office hours, and parents can expect their visit to an urgent care facility to take less than an hour. There are more than 2.8 million patients who choose to visit an urgent care facility each week, and urgent care services can help concerned parents figure out if their young toddlers have an ear infection that is bacterial or viral. If your child’s ear infection is caused by a virus, there is not any way to attack it with medication, and doctors cannot tell the type of ear infection that a child has just by looking into their ears. Children whose temperature is below 101 degrees should feel better with a warm compress to the ear, but if the symptoms are not abating, it may be time to see a doctor.
Part of the problem with ear infections is that some children naturally develop excess wax in their ears. Doctors may seek to remove it before prescribing antibiotics, and in general parents should be careful about how often their children take antibiotics. If children sit with a warm, damp towel over their ears for about 15 minutes, urgent care services doctors should be able to remove the impacted wax. Talk to your doctor when you visit an urgent care facility: they will recommend the best course of treatment. Doctors can also check toddlers to see if they are actively teething: if they are not, then they can be more certain that an ear infection is to blame for your child’s discomfort.
To prevent future ear infections, doctors generally recommend limiting pacifier time — even though that if often easier said than done — and in some cases, surgery to insert tubes into children’s ear. Often, these tubes can help with drainage, and can be removed after a few years. Prolonged, chronic ear infections could impact children’s hearing and their acquisition of spoken language, so it is better to meet with a doctor if your toddler has frequent ear infections. A local urgent care facility can make medical recommendations, prescribe medication, and refer you to an otolaryngologist if the need arises.