20 answers

How Quickly Does an Ear Infection Come On?

Hi moms.
My question is how fast can an ear infection come on and cause discomfort/pain? my 10mo old was just at the doctor 1 1/2 weeks ago and his ears were checked and fine. he is teeting so i thought it was just that, but last night and today he is just "off." he is now doing lots of pulling and swatting to his ears. he is also shaking his head.
thanks so much!

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All 3 of my boys battled ear infections. From my experience, they can come on very suddenly. Sometimes I didn't even know until they had high fevers, other times they would tug at their ears...it's no fun :(

Hi M., An ear inffection can come over night, the symptoms you shared I would say he has an ear inffection, take him to see the doctor as soon as you can, so his pain can be eased with medication. J. L.

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Hi M., An ear inffection can come over night, the symptoms you shared I would say he has an ear inffection, take him to see the doctor as soon as you can, so his pain can be eased with medication. J. L.

Is he feverish? Ear infections can come on pretty quick... I'd check it out.

My daughter had an ear infection every month for years (except for summer months). Sometimes i would take her to the Dr when i assumed she was getting one, and she would be fine. Then 3 days later, bring her back and there is the infection! They can come quick. If you have any concerns don't hesitate to bring your child back.

My daughter had a few ear infections when she was that age. I always took her to the doctor when I "thought" she might have an ear infection. I even had her rechecked after being on antibiotics for a week.
Have your babies ears checked again....you just can't take the risk of not knowing.
Good luck

When my daughter was little she had a lot of ear infections. She would be on antibiotic for 10 days, and three weeks later have another bad infection. She would go from being perfectly fine to high fever and crying in pain in a matter of hours. The doctor told us these infections could develop very quickly.

My 14 month old is prone to ear infections and he can literally get one overnight. One day he's fine and the next he's pulling at his ears and cranky. I take him to the dr. frequently b/c it's better to catch them early and get them on antibiotics so the pain goes away faster. I would take him into the dr., worst case he's fine and it's just teething. But better to check. Good luck.

I can't remember how fast they come on, but I do remember that it takes at least three days of Tylenol for relief. Please be very conservative when it comes to antibiotics. If used too often, the body builds up a resistance and the next time a stronger dose is needed. I have heard doctors say that most ear infections can be taken care of with Tylenol.

It can happen very quickly! Ear infections often follow a cold by a few days and sometimes, but not always, cause a temperature spike. When babies have ear infections they are often very uncomfortable lying down and will cry or be very fitful in their sleep. Also, sometimes those incoming teeth are the culprit of tugging ears. But just to be sure, you may want to have a re-check with your pedi.

All 3 of my boys battled ear infections. From my experience, they can come on very suddenly. Sometimes I didn't even know until they had high fevers, other times they would tug at their ears...it's no fun :(

He probally has an infection he probally caught something while he was at the docotors. I would have it checked out. A heating pad on low will sometimes make it feel better.

Yes, sounds like the ears are bothering him. You either have to take him to the doctor or there are some garlic tricks. Hopefully the moms will write in and tell how it works or you can perhaps look online.


it can happen much faster that you think. i'm sure you've heard similar advice from others but i'll tell you what our pediatrician's nurse (who has 30 years of pediatric nursing experience) told me once...the doc could check a child's ears in the office and see nothing, and by the time you get to your car in the parking lot, s/he could have a full-blown ear infection. it can happen that fast.

Yes they come on quick. It is very possible he developed it in a week or less. And sometimes the teething kicks it off because their noses run and they drool and you know how the whole nasal/ear/throat stuff is connected. I was told my daughter's runny noses sometimes brought on the ear infections.
The pulling on the ears is a sign. I would go back to the doctor... When my daughter was 8-12 months old I went to the doctor so many times. A new problem would arise and I would feel like "but I just went last week!" I think part of being a new mom is figuring out when to go and when to just handle it at home and not worry. I learned that an ear infection is one of the times you have to go. Even if you were just there the week before :)
Good luck!

Mary Beth,

They come on rather quickly... I wouldn't wait as they are pretty painful. Once the tugging starts take him in as you can avoid the fevers that come along with the ear infections...

As soon as they get started on the Amoxicilian, the less pain for the little one... ALso, Tylenol or any pain killer that also treats fevers would be helpful to keep onhand.

We have our bathroom cabinet split, one with medications for our son and the other side for my husband and I.

Good luck...


p.s. when your son gets into his tolder years, he'll be able to tell you verbally when it starts hurting... MY son, now 4, about 2 mos ago, told me that his ear was starting to hurt... we took him to urgent care and the Dr. said that he had the beginning of an ear infection in 1 ear... We told the Dr. that he warned us and the Dr. was surprised to know that a little one could do that at such an early stage of the ear infection.

Also, if you wait then it can spread to the other ear which is very painful and more to deal with for the little one...

That is a sign I would just call and have them check his ears. My son had simular issues where at his appt he was fine but days later or after a bought of teething would have an ear infection.

It may just be teething. My DD does that every time she breaks a new tooth. I would have his ears checked....but if he hasn't had a cold recently, it's probably just the teeth.

My second baby has had a few ear infections and they can come on with no warning - with one of them, he had no other signs of sickness but he suddenly came down with an ear infection. It was a lot more severe than just pulling or swatting at his ears, though. He could not sleep and was crying non-stop while he was laying down (I have heard that it can be very painful for them when they lay down). It was always the inability to sleep that clued me in to the ear infections. As long as your little guy is not inconsolable and he is sleeping alright, I would not be worried and I wouldn't jump to giving him antibiotics. For mild ear infections, our bodies can usually fight them off all by themselves. Antibiotics are very hard on our systems and my little guy came down with a severe allergic reaction to the last antibiotics he was on (first time for any kind of allergic reaction in my family, ever), so I am especially wary now. But my guage for severity of the ear infection(besides having the doctor look) is the inability to sleep and being inconsolable - you definitely want to act on it if that is the case.

My daughter, apparantly had LOTs of ear infections. However, she was never in pain and never acted like it either. We found out through her doctor that she needed her ears checked because the "found" something. I cannot remember what it is now, but we took her to a specialist. He took a sample and also looked inside her ears. Well, she had scarring from the infections and if she had any more then she could have had hearing loss. So, they ended up putting tubes in them. So, I guess some kids don't feel any discomfort. At least what they originally thought it was, it was not because that would have been very serious. Also, it was pretty miraculous having the tubes put in, at least in her case. She seemed like she could hear better and was happier. I bet his teething is a lot of his problem though. Just watch him and make sure he is comfortable. May want to get some oral gel for babies or there are these homeopathic teething pills that they can actually suck on or eat, even at that age, and they seem to work too. I found those at Henrys. Good luck!

I would have his ears rechecked now--before you treat him for an ear infection. Also, you did not mention if you had treated him for teething. The teeth that would be coming in at 10 months are near his ears which may be causing the pain in that ear which would explain the pulling of his ears. Try treating his gums with oragel or whatever method worked for him in the past, but get an appointment with his doctor to check his ears again.
Best wishes,

My daughter had chronic ear infections until about 2 y.o. and hers could come on in a few days. I think it depends on the child though... If your child has a fever too, for more than a day or two, then I would get him checked again.

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