Does your child often get ear infections? If so, you’re not alone, as five out of six children will have at least one ear infection by their third birthday. In fact, ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents bring their kids to the doctor!

But what happens if you don’t take your child to the doctor promptly? Our AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga team provides some helpful info on ear infections below, so read on.

How Can I Know If My Child Has an Ear Infection?

Ear infections can be very painful for children and often have several tell-tale signs.

We’ve listed the common signs and symptoms of ear infections below.

Common Signs of Ear Infections Among Children

  • Ear pain, especially when lying down
  • Tugging or pulling at an ear
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Crying more than usual
  • Fussiness
  • Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
  • Loss of balance
  • Fever of 100 F or higher
  • Drainage of fluid from the ear
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite

Can an Ear Infection Cause Future Health Problems?

The general rule of thumb is that ear infections that occur every so often won’t lead to long-term health complications, while recurring ear infections can. If your child experiences any of the previously mentioned symptoms, it’s important to take him or her to your local AFC clinic quickly to get the necessary treatment.

Ear infections that happen over and over can, indeed, lead to serious health complications, and we’ve listed some of those below.

Serious Health Complications Cause By Frequent Ear Infections

  • Impaired hearing. Ear infections that happen again and again can cause an excess amount of fluid in the middle ear, which may lead to more-significant hearing loss. If there is some permanent damage to the eardrum or other middle ear structures, permanent hearing loss may occur.
  • Speech or developmental delays. If hearing is temporarily or permanently impaired in infants and toddlers, they may experience delays in speech, social and developmental skills.
  • Tearing of the eardrum. Most eardrum tears heal within 72 hours; however, surgical repair is needed in some cases.

Our AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga team is here to help with your or your child’s ear infection, so don’t hesitate to visit us!