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Help Your Baby Feel Better

Ear Infections

When bacteria or viruses infect a child's eustachian tube, they can cause swelling, pressure, and pain behind the eardrum. This often occurs after a cold.

Peak age: From 3 months to 3 years, when the position and size of the eustachian tube make it more susceptible to fluid buildup. Two out of every three children have had at least one ear infection by their second birthday.

What to do: Give pain and fever medication, such as infant acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin); avoid aspirin. Apply a warm compress or a hot-water bottle to her ears for pain relief. Call the doctor if your baby is under 3 months and has developed a fever, or if she appears to be in severe pain. Kids over 2 often get better on their own, so you may want to call your doctor but tell him you don't mind waiting to see if the infection clears up without antibiotics. Babies and toddlers under 2 usually do need antibiotics.