18 answers

Toddler Has Fluid in Ear - Need to Do Anything?

My toddler had her 15 month check up recently, and her doctor said she has fluid in her ear. He also said we shouldn't do anything about it unless she starts acting like it's really painful, at which point we'd know it was an ear infection. It's not infected right now. Of course I don't want to give her any unnecessary treatment, but does this sound right to you moms? Has anyone had experience with fluid in the ear, and if so, how did it resolve itself?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I would start by asking where the fluid came from. If it is water from her bath, pool, beach, etc. there is a way to dry that up. I have heard that the longer water sits in the ear the more chance of infection. I would find out if the doctor thinks you should "dry" it with a solution. I got a "drying" solution at WalMart for my 7yo. She spends so much time in the pool all summer that she would hear the water in her ear. One use and it was gone and she has never had a ear infection. I don't know the name but found it by the ear plugs but you can always ask a pharmacist. I also heard that a few drops of alcohol or hydrogen pyroxide can work but I don't know which one or how much so ask you doctor he should be able to tell you. A.

my daughter was the ear infection queen. Fluid alone is not a big deal and will usually go away on it's own. you seem to be on top of the situation and if there is any pain you would bring her back to the doctor for some meds. If the situation becomes chronic they try steroids and if they fail tubes are placed in the ears. Good luck!

More Answers

My boys both recently had fluid in their ears at their ear recheck appt after nasty ear infections. They were not treated for the fluid as there is no reason, but I knew that when the crankiness started it was probably their ears. It was. Just a couple weeks passed and that fluid became infected. Back on the antibiotics and they've been fine since.

I am not sure if it is because the first ear infections for them both occurred on our way to Europe. We were only able to get 1 prescription for antibiotics before we boarded. Once in Europe we were unable to get antibiotics because their healthcare system is socialized which, in my brother in laws words, means "you have to be dying in order to see the dr." They didn't care that both of them had ruptured ear drums and were oozing green puss gunk. So the boys had to share the antibiotics as per the dr.s orders. Therefor neither took the proper dose and I think that is why the both had recurrent infections after we got home.

SO just keep an eye on her. If she gets unusually cranky have her ear checked. That's my story. Hope it helped.

Hi G. ... my son keeps going through the same thing. Every time he starts to teeth, he gets fluid on the ears. In my experience, it always becomes infected, and they put him on a short round of antibiotics. My honest opinion is that I would get a second opinion from another pediatrician. The doctor can do a very simple test on the ears to determine just how much fluid is in both ears. Keep this in mind ... ear aches are very, very painful. If you can avoid an infection, you will be better off! And so will your daughter. Good luck!

Hi. I had a similar situation. My son failed every hearing test he ever had, including the one they do after they are born in the hospital. Everyone kept telling me that it was "just fluid". Not to worry unless it was infected. Well, at 2 he still wasn't talking at all. By 3, you could understand bits and pieces. After failing yet another hearing test I said that was it. I took him to an ENT. He said that fluid in the ear is NEVER normal. That fluid can be just as destructive as an infection. The fluid has lots of stuff in it that can deteriorate the inner ear. So, my son just got tubes in both ears. It was a very minor procedure and within a week he made enormous progress in his speech. There doesn't seem to be any permanent damage and he seems to be back on track for his age level. At least challenge your doctor and maybe get the input of a specialist. They may tell you everything is fine but don't let it go so long that she ends up delayed (like I did!). Good Luck!

Hi. I just went through this with my 7 year old (6 at the time). I was alerted because she had a hearing test at school and the test indicated she had a partial hearing loss in one ear. I took her to our ENT (Ear Nose Throat) and she had a hearing test there, which she failed. The ENT was out that day so I took her to the pediatrician. They saw fluid but not an ear infection, so the did not treat her and said we should wait. They also did their hearing test, which she failed. We were away for 1 month. My daughter was fine, never once from the time this was brought to our attention, did she complain of pain. Upon our return, we went to the ENT. He said there was definitely an ear infection and she was given an antibiotic. Two weeks later, we went back to the ENT. The ear infection was cleared, and another hearing test done that day indicated everything was back to normal. My suggestion to you is to go back to your pediatrician in 2 weeks. If there is still fluid in her ear, I would suggest seeing a pediatric ENT. Good luck. J.

I would start by asking where the fluid came from. If it is water from her bath, pool, beach, etc. there is a way to dry that up. I have heard that the longer water sits in the ear the more chance of infection. I would find out if the doctor thinks you should "dry" it with a solution. I got a "drying" solution at WalMart for my 7yo. She spends so much time in the pool all summer that she would hear the water in her ear. One use and it was gone and she has never had a ear infection. I don't know the name but found it by the ear plugs but you can always ask a pharmacist. I also heard that a few drops of alcohol or hydrogen pyroxide can work but I don't know which one or how much so ask you doctor he should be able to tell you. A.

HI G.
You sound like you didn't get enough answer from the MD.
Was MD talking swimmer's ear? or fluid build up?
Is it chronic? or you never heard it before?
Ask more questions of the MD who obviously thinks you know if you don't ask.
God bless you
K. SAHM married 38 years. 4 grown kids only one had ear infections and they were at 13 when swimmer's ear was a problem. The MD finally just said put cotton balls in ears when bathing. That ended the problem.

My daughter had constant fluid in the ear and constant ear infections until we started seeing a pediatric chiropractor. He saved her from getting tubes in her ears. 2 -3 months after the chiropractor saw her, she started speaking more etc..
I swear by the chiropractor...but not sure if you need to do that yet. Make sure you do not give your baby a bottle laying down.

My son had fluid in his ears constantly. Very rarely did they become an infection as his pediatrician and ENT had me give him drops to dry out the fluid. In our case though, the only "permanent"solution has been having tubes placed. Since he has gotten his tubes, he started walking(always tried but balance was off d/t fluid)and he is saying more words. I would at least ask for drops to dry them as alot of children need to be in a lot of pain before they show it and ear infections are usually the worst pain and don't always present with a fever or drainage.

My son has had frequent boughts of fluid in his ear, which always turned into an infection. He had so many he ended up with tubes. Now it's happening to my daughter too. I know "they" say its bad for kids, but our Ped. recommends using Sudafed (or generic decongestent) and gives the correct dose based on weight. It really does help dry up the fluid behind the ear drum. I've been able to hold off most infections for my daughter up until now with it.

By the looks of your responses it seems experiences are so varied. My son is 4. He had fluid in his ear a few times, it did not always lead to an infection. At least twice it resolved itself (I don't know how, we didn't do anything). The last time it lead to an infection, the antibiotic didn't get rid of it, then we had drops, more meds, etc, so much so that he got a fungal infection in his ear! Poor little guy, can you imagine how much that itched! Anyway, the ENT said it was from the drops that the pedi used to try to dry up the fluid. My son is not one who had chronic ear infections, this was only his second or third since birth. I would agree with the MD, keep an eye on her, if she is in pain or has trouble hearing then go back for a recheck.

In my experience, whenever any of my kids had fluid in their ears, it always turned into an ear infection. Ear infections don't always have symptoms of pain, I have taken my kids for well ck appointments only to find out one of the ears was infected. My 3 year old has an ear infection rt now & didn't even have a fever. I would take her back, just to have it rechecked. Good luck.

Hi - My son had the same issue at about the same age. We didn't do anything and the next time he got a cold it turned into an ear infection. We haven't had any other issues with the ear since. Hope that helps.

My son had fluid detected in his ears when we had his hearing tested by an audiologist due to some speech delays. The ENT put him on an antihistamine to try and dry up the fluid and we followed it for about 2-3 months. It never resolved itself and never presented as ear infections. We decided to do ear tubes and it really made a difference with his speech. And immediately following the ear tubes we had the grossest stuff come out of his ears (particularly one) that I have ever seen (like a really gross, green, snotty nose) - but again, he never presented as having ear infections (no fever, no crankiness, no red & inflammed ear drums, etc.). Therefore, I would think if your child does not have speech issues and it does not seem to bother her, I would just monitor it without any intervention.

O nce an d it fixed itself :)

Your daughter should have been given ear drops to help dry up the fluid so there won't be an infection later on. Talk to her doctor about some drops, or get another doctor.

my daughter was the ear infection queen. Fluid alone is not a big deal and will usually go away on it's own. you seem to be on top of the situation and if there is any pain you would bring her back to the doctor for some meds. If the situation becomes chronic they try steroids and if they fail tubes are placed in the ears. Good luck!

Hi, G..

I learned a trick from my internist. If your daughter will sit with you, try a warm compress(not too warm) just under her ear towards the back of her ear. If you would perfer, hold your hand over her ear covering under and just behind her ear. It is my understanding that when you warm the inner ear tubes, they begin to drain. It works for adults as well as children.

Good luck.

S.

I have twins that have had many ear infections followed by tubes. After the tubes fell out, one of my daughters had fluid in her ear for about 6 months. The doctor just left it alone because it wasn't infected. You'll know when she has an ear infection. I'd follow the doctor's advice.

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