Cold and flu are most prevalent in winter in both children and adults, but ear infections are also a common cause of illness in children. Although adults can develop ear infections as well, they are more likely to be found in children and tend to happen more often when children have cough and cold symptoms. Regular hand washing and using hand sanitizer is the best way to prevent the spread of infection, along with teaching kids to cough and sneeze into their elbow.
Ear infections are often very painful and can lead to other complications if not treated properly. Infants with an ear infection will often become fussy and may tug on their ears. Older children will complain of pain in their ears. Please keep your child at home when they are sick with a fever to prevent the spread of infection to others. If they are in pain, you can certainly give the child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) to make them more comfortable.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get your annual flu shot. Even if you do get the flu after getting your flu shot, you will be less likely to spread it since you’ve had the vaccine, and you’ll recover faster. If you suspect your child may be suffering from an ear infection or the flu, it is important to discuss the symptoms and proper treatment with their doctor. Children should be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to day care or school.
Cone Health has an exceptional network of primary care providers, children's services and emergency care facilities throughout the area. Go online to find a doctor or emergency care facility near you.
Ross Kuhner, MD, is the medical director and board-certified pediatric emergency medicine specialist at Cone Health’s Children’s Emergency Department located at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. Kuhner is a 2003 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed his residency in pediatrics at University of North Carolina Hospitals and completed a fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.