What's Going Around

In Okemos, Dr. James Brouillette at Ingham Community Medical Center, a partner of Ingham Regional, is treating ear infections.

Ear infections can be hard to detect in very young children.

In particular, watch for sleeplessness and irritability in kids under two.

Children with ear infections may complain of ear pain, tug or pull at their ears, cry more than usual, have trouble sleeping, not respond to sounds, be unusually irritable, or have a fever of 100 degrees or higher. A clear fluid may drain from the ears as well.

To treat an ear infection, try an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol. Don't give aspirin to anyone under age 16.

Place a warm washcloth over the ear, get plenty of rest, and have your child do something low-key like read or watch TV to distract him or her from the pain.

Most ear infections clear up on their own without specific treatment, but you should call a doctor if your child's symptoms last longer than a day, if he or she is younger than six months, or if there is blood or pus coming from the ear. That could mean your child has a punctured ear drum.

Dr. Brouillette also says it's important for everyone six months and older to get a flu shot, as flu season approaches. The new 2010-2011 flu vaccine protects against an influenza A H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus, all in one shot.


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