A Guide to Baby Illnesses

Eluding Ear Evils
Sometimes viral, sometimes bacterial, ear infections (aka otitis media) are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor, and a full 75 percent of children will get at least one before they turn 3, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. “Usually the child gets a cold and then fluid sits behind his eardrum, creating the setup for a secondary bacterial infection,” says Cohen.

How It Looks: Fever tends to be more common in infants and young children with ear infections, and some will tug at their ears or be fussy and have trouble sleeping-but because symptoms aren’t always apparent and a baby can’t tell you what’s wrong, it’s often tough for parents to detect.

How to Deal: Time and Tylenol may be all that’s required, but your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics-especially to infants. “There is now more of a wait-and-see approach with ear infections, especially in children over the age of 2, because the infection may be viral or clear on its own,” says Brown. “However, younger babies are more likely to have complications-so if they have a fever or other signs of illness, we’ll start antibiotics as soon as a diagnosis is made,” says Brown.