Also: Ear Infection, Middle
Infection of the middle ear, otitis media, is common in infants and young children. Although ear infections can be extremely painful, they are seldom harmful.
An ear infection is a secondary complication of colds and nasal allergies. Swelling in the nose and throat keeps the middle ear cavity from ventilating properly. Fluid accumulation in the middle ear results. When resident bacteria from the nose and throat begin to grow in this stagnant fluid, a middle ear infection results.
Children with ear infections have usually been suffering with a cold for a few days. The baby may cry out in pain or act inconsolable. Fussiness provoked by lying flat or swallowing is also suggestive. Some babies will grab or bat at their ears. Many children have fever with ear infections.
Surprisingly, some ear infections will cause no symptoms other than those expected with a mild cold. This is no reason for concern. Undiagnosed, hence untreated, ear infections usually resolve on their own without complication. Hearing damage resulting from ear infections is rare.