Teething and ear infections both have similar symptoms.
Many times parents confuse teething and ear infections by the symptoms. A baby pulling at his ears can be a sign of either teething or ear infections. Three out of four children experience ear infections by the age of 3. Ear infections can cause complications if not treated by a doctor. Teething is painful for infants, but not serious, and there are many ways parents can help to manage a baby’s pain.
Teething is unpleasant for most babies and parents.
Drooling is usually one of the first symptoms of teething in babies. Babies can get a teething rash around the mouth from the excess drool. Some babies go through teething with minimal discomfort and parents never suspect a thing until teeth poke through the gums. For other babies, there may be a lot of fussiness, which means more crying, tantrums and night waking. Parents should respond quickly to cries and help to soothe the baby. Infants may bite while teething, on anything at any time. Parents should remain calm and provide distraction or give the baby something acceptable to chew on.
Ear Infection Symptoms
Ear infections are very uncomfortable for babies.
A change in a baby’s mood can be caused by an ear infection. If an infant is crying much more than usual or in a different way, parents should be cautious of a serious problem. Most babies with ear infections develop a fever. If a baby is grabbing or pulling at the ears, that is a sign of ear infection. Another symptom is diarrhea. It can be painful to chew and swallow when a baby has an ear infection, so look for loss of appetite or disinterest in eating. Any fluid or foul odor coming from the ears is a sure sign of an ear infection.
Solutions for Teething Pain
Cold teething rings are one way to help baby’s pain.
Freezing a wet wash cloth and allowing the baby to chew on it can ease teething pain. Freezing food, such as bagels, can be good for an older baby to chew on (please always be sure what you choose does not pose a choking risk for your baby). Most baby stores sell teething rings that can either be frozen or refrigerated. Doctors no longer recommend numbing gels on a baby’s gums, as this can be swallowed and cause breathing troubles. There are homeopathic remedies for babies that need a bit more than a teething ring. Some examples of available homeopathic remedies include Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Boiron Camilia teething liquid. Sometimes babies just need extra attention and cuddles from parents during teething.
Treating a Baby’s Ear Infection
Doctors can help treat a baby’s ear infection.
If parents suspect an ear infection, it is always best to call the baby’s doctor. The doctor will check the infant’s ears with an otoscope. A red, bulging eardrum and any sign of fluid tells the doctor that it’s an infection. Doctors will usually prescribe an antibiotic. Many ear infections clear up on their own, but doctors prefer to err on the side of caution for ear infections. Doctors may also recommend that parents give the baby pain medication such as infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Teething cookies are sold in many places but can prove to be a choking hazard for young babies. Caution should be used when giving a baby teething cookies.
Untreated ear infections that don’t clear up on their own can lead to hearing loss. Parents should always take a baby to the doctor if they suspect an infection of any sort.