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Guide for the Care of Children Online Manual

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Reye's syndrome

Reye's syndrome is a life-threatening condition that damages the cells in your child's organs, especially the liver and brain. Giving your child aspirin increases the risk of Reye's syndrome.

Learn more about Reye's syndrome in our health library.

Ear infections

An ear infection (otitis media) affects your child's middle ear (behind the eardrum). It can be caused by a bacteria or virus and often follows a viral infection (such as a cold). Ear infections are not contagious.

Did you know?

  • Feeding your infant while lying flat, propping the bottle, using a pacifier and giving your baby a bottle to suck on while in the crib all increase the chance of an ear infection.
  • Daycare and exposure to secondhand smoke can also increase the chance.

Ear infections are common in young children and usually affect children younger than 3 years old.

Your child can get ear infections more than once. If the infection is caused by a bacteria, antibiotics may help.

Symptoms of an ear infection

If your child has an ear infection, she may:

  • have a fever (ear infections don't always cause a fever)
  • cry often or be irritable
  • tug at the ear
  • be unable to hear well
  • have drainage from the ear

How to treat an ear infection

  • Your health care provider may prescribe antibiotics or eardrops. Be sure to use all of the prescription, even if your child feels better after a few doses.
  • Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for fever or mild discomfort. Follow your health care provider’s or the package directions. Do not give ibuprofen to a child younger than 6 months old.
  • Holding a warm washcloth over her ear may help relieve the pain.

When to call your health care provider

Call your health care provider for an appointment if your child:

  • is uncomfortable or can’t sleep
  • has blood or drainage coming from the ear
  • has been taking antibiotics for 72 hours (three days) and isn’t getting better


Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition

To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or she" and "him" or "her."

First published: 02/01/2010
Last updated: 01/01/2014

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic