HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It can be hard for a parent to know whether or not a child has an ear infection, and doctors say if it's following a cold, it likely is.
With winter officially here and the Grand Strand area's propensity for weather changes, children are more likely to come down with a cold. However, doctors warn it can become a worrisome ear infection.
Dr. Ron Reynolds, with Beach Urgent Care, said he's seeing a lot of runny noses, congestion and coughing, which can sometimes lead to an ear infection.
Fluids from a cold can block up the middle ear space. That fluid could become infected.
"(It) sets up camp in your ear, whether or not you have and ear infection, a throat infection or a sinus infection," Reynolds said. "It kind of depends on where the bacteria or virus tends to set up camp."
For most younger children, Reynolds said children's Tylenol or Motrin will help ease discomfort.
"So, generally as a rule, unless wee see an infection that seems fairly significant, lots of times those are treated conservatively (with) lots of fluids."
Antibiotics can be given after a medical professional makes a diagnosis.
"Children that are more likely to be running a higher fever, are a little bit more uncomfortable or the outer ear is looking a lot redder, generally we'll tend to opt for an antibiotic," Reynolds said.
The doctor added that during the winter months, the cold temperatures can increase those things that allow a person to have an ear infection, as well as making one more susceptible to a viral infection.
"It is important if a child, especially in these colder temperatures, to keep their ears covered if you can," Reynolds said.
It can be hard for a parent to know whether or not a child has an ear infection. Reynolds said children won't always pull on their ears as a sign of a problem.
He added if they've had a few ear infections in the past, parents could see more of them.