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What's Going Around: Ear Infections

March 26, 2012

Dr. Katherine Smyth of Palmyra Medical Associates says ear infections are going around central Virginia. It's a painful ear condition that's sending children to the doctor.

Dr. Smyth says children, especially those under two years old, are susceptible to ear infections, but they can happen to anyone.

Symptoms include fussiness in infants, fever after having a runny nose for more than three days, crying when laying down, hitting ears or ear pain in older children. Ear infections typically last one to three days.

There are several ways to treat ear infections. Symth recommends antibiotics, ear drops, or pain relievers like ibuprofen or Tylenol. If left untreated, 80 percent will be resolved on their own, but the remaining 20 percent will go on to develop more serious infections.

When it comes to prevention, Smyth says three things can help: breastfeeding, keeping children away from cigarette smoke and avoiding bottle propping during feedings.

Smyth says your child needs to see a doctor if they have ear pain. There are other causes of ear pain such as having a foreign object in the ear canal. If seen, a doctor would be able to rule that out.

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