Most children have at least one middle ear infection by age 2. Colds or allergies can cause bacteria to grow in a child's middle ear, blocking the eustachian tubes, which connect the middle ear to the throat. This may cause pain, fever, and sometimes, difficulty hearing.
Cause. Although children can't catch ear infections from other children, they can catch colds, which make ear infections more likely.
Prevention. To reduce the risk of ear infections, help your child keep a healthy distance from people who are sick, and wash their hands frequently. Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, which can increase the risk of ear infection. And do not let him drink bottles while lying down.
Treatment. If your child has pain and fever from an ear infection, give acetaminophen (child tylenol) to make him comfortable and see a doctor. They may need antibiotics, although many ear infections go away on their own in children older than 2 years of age.
Most ear infection symptoms go away in a few days after antibiotics are started.