Baby Ear Infection and Vomiting

Mother Care
A mother comforting her sick baby. (Image: JovanaMilanko/iStock/Getty Images)

Sometimes, the virus that causes ear infections in babies infects the gut. This leads to symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. In other cases, an ear infection temporarily affects a baby's ability to balance properly, and one side effect is vomiting and general sickness. Babies and children generally are more susceptible to ear infections. Persistent ear infections require antibiotic treatment prescribed by your doctor.

Ear Infection

Ear infections in babies come in both viral and bacterial forms. The most common type in babies, otitis media, grows in the moist gaps found in the middle ear behind the drum membrane. As the air space becomes filled with pus and fluid, pressure builds in the ear cavity. It causes discomfort and often pain. Otitis media is so common in babies that 60 percent of those under 12 months have at least one episode.

Vomiting

Vomiting in babies is a symptom associated with many conditions, from colic to fever. Ear infections too may trigger vomiting. During an ear infection, your baby may show signs of disorientation along with sickness. Even if a baby vomits regularly, it's important to keep feeding the child, following as normal a routine as possible. Keeping your baby well-hydrated and nourished with breast milk or formula helps him fight off infection.

Treatment

The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends waiting 72 hours before calling a doctor, giving the infection time to subside. Often, ear infections and vomiting tail off after a couple of days. If your baby keeps crying, lacks an appetite or has trouble sleeping because of the infection and vomiting, see a doctor as soon as you can. Similarly, if you see blood or lots of pus from the ear, call a doctor right away. Though a doctor may prescribe antibiotics, this treatment often triggers more vomiting before the infection clears up.

Considerations

Ear infections and vomiting in babies cause parents a lot of worry. But, in most cases, this is just part of normal development. Babies tend to contract more general bugs and infections than adults. Fighting off these infections helps to build a baby's immune system over time. However, if your baby keeps getting ear infections, speak to a doctor. Prolonged infections can lead to hearing issues if left untreated.

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