If your infant is simply pulling on her ears, but does not have a fever and runny nose, then it’s not an ear infection. Infants need to have cold symptoms and moderate nasal congestion in order for an ear infection to develop. Babies who are not sick, but are just pulling on the ears, are likely just doing so out of curiosity or because of teething.

Children who are sick AND complaining of ear pain or pulling on the ears may have an ear infection. Infants (too young to tell you they have ear pain) who have nasal congestion, fever, and fussiness may have an ear infection, especially if these symptoms have persisted for more than a day. If there is no pus, mucus, or liquid draining out of the ear, then you may find that using mullein garlic oil ear drops (like Herb Pharm brand) from any health store may provide enough relief that you don’t even have to be seen for the suspected ear infection.

How to use garlic oil ear drops. Warm the dropper in your hands so the drops aren’t cold, then put 3 drops in each affected ear and let sit for several minutes, 3 to 4 times daily. Infants only need 1 or 2 drops (ears are smaller). 

If pain and/or fever persist for more than a day or two, or drainage comes out of the ear, we should see you. If there is severe redness and pain behind the ear, or the ear is sticking out more than usual, or severe tenderness when you press behind the ear, we should see you.

You can read more about evaluating ear infections by searching it on AskDrSears.com

Swimmer’s Ear is different than an ear infection. This is caused by water getting stuck in the ear after swimming. You can tell by the fact that there will be moderate to severe ear pain when you press in on the ear or move the ear. There may or may not be drainage coming from the ear. We can see your child and can prescribe antibiotic ear drops. AskDrSears.com has a good page on how to evaluate swimmer’s ear.

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