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.
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.
If your child has an ear infection, she may:
Call your health care provider for an appointment if your child:
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."
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic