4 Telltale Signs of Ear Infections in Kids

4 Telltale Signs of Ear Infections in Kids

“Here we go again,” you groan inwardly. “Another ear infection for my kids?!”

Or is it?

Trying to determine whether your child’s issue is a full-blown ear infection that needs medical attention or some other minor problem you can treat at home can be difficult, even for experienced parents.

(Quick review: an ear infection occurs when a virus or bacteria causes an infection in the middle ear — the air-filled space behind the eardrum that includes the tiny, vibrating bones of the ear. Parts of the inner ear can become swollen and painful, and fluid can often be trapped behind the eardrum.)

The team at Physician’s Medical Primary Care has seen thousands of ear infections over the years — here are four of their telltale signs of ear infections in kids.

Drainage from the ear

If your child has yellow or bloody fluid or pus draining from their ear, you can almost be guaranteed they have an ear infection. The drainage occurs because there’s a small tear in the eardrum that has let some of the infected fluid out. If a large amount of drainage occurs suddenly, the eardrum has likely ruptured, and you should see a doctor as soon as you can.

Persistent pain

If your child consistently complains of pain in their ear for two or three days, chances are you’re dealing with an ear infection. The pain may manifest itself in several ways — your child may have trouble sleeping, they may be pulling or tugging at their ears, and they may have a poor appetite.


Fever is a sign your body is fighting off an infection. If your child has a fever, check them for other causes; if you don’t find another cause and they have any other signs, the fever has likely developed because of an infection in the middle ear.

Clumsiness and dizziness

Your child’s center of balance is located in their inner ear, so if this area is infected, inflamed, or has fluid buildup, your child may show some uncharacteristic dizziness or clumsiness. If you notice them stumbling, falling, or having trouble walking, check for other signs of an ear infection.

If your child does indeed have an ear infection, common effective treatments include antibiotics, over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, and anesthetic ear drops. The team at Physicians Medical Primary Care is always happy to examine and treat your child to get them back to their normal, happy selves. Just call one of our offices or book an appointment online to be seen as soon as possible!

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