Can an Ear Infection Cause a Diaper Rash?

  • By: Gian
  • Date: March 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

If your baby is frequently getting ear infections, you may be wondering if there’s a connection to the diaper rash he or she is also experiencing.

In this post, we’ll take a look at some potential causes of a diaper rash and whether an infected ear could be one of them. We’ll also provide some tips on how to treat a diaper rash. Keep reading to learn more!

What is an ear infection?

An ear infection is medically known as acute otitis media. Middle ear infections can affect anyone, including children and adults, but they are among the most common reasons why many children visit their pediatricians.

Most of the time, ear infections resolve or heal on their own after a few days. A medication may be prescribed by your healthcare provider. An antibiotic may be prescribed by your healthcare provider if the condition hasn’t improved.

What are the signs and symptoms of middle ear infections?

Infants and toddlers aren’t able to verbally communicate with you that their ears hurt, so you should watch and learn these symptoms:

Having trouble sleeping or lying down

Lying down causes a shift in middle ear pressure. Children find it difficult to sleep or just lay down flat when their pressure changes.

Tugging at the ear

It is common for children to tug at their ears for many reasons, and one of these may be an infected ear. It is common for children to pull on their ears to relieve pain.

Babies under one year of age have difficulty locating and connecting their pain to their ears, so they might hit their ears by accident.

Ear drainage

The clearest sign of an infection is fluid or pus draining from the ear canal which makes it a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. It is usually due to a ruptured eardrum that fluid or pus drains out of the ear, and this is a condition that can heal itself. 

You won’t see this in every child with an infection, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for. There is a good chance the fluid will be thick and either yellow or bloody, making it hard to miss.

Crying more frequently

Children with ear infections may cry, fuss, or be more irritable due to the pain and pressure they are experiencing. A child who is crying more than usual might be suffering from any number of problems, but watch out for symptoms that indicate an infection in their ears.

Difficulty hearing

Fluid accumulates in the middle ear, which can temporarily impair hearing. Children and infants who are not yet able to speak can seem unresponsive to sounds. 

Diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite

It is possible for ear infections to be caused by viruses that affect the gastrointestinal tract, causing an upset stomach. Sick children may show signs of diarrhea, vomiting, and reduced appetite.

Changes in pressure can also make chewing and swallowing difficult. Look for other signs that may indicate your child’s ears got infected if you notice a decrease in his appetite.

Fever

Having a fever indicates that the body is working hard to fight off an infection. As a child’s body may be trying to fight off the infection in their ear when they have a temperature of 100 F, it is important to watch out for other common symptoms. Your baby might also experience nasal congestion.

How do you diagnose an ear infection?

An ear exam is often the first step in diagnosing an ear infection. Otoscopes are tools used by healthcare providers to examine the ear of a patient or a child.

In a healthy eardrum, the color will be pinkish-gray and the tissue will be translucent or clear. A swollen or inflamed eardrum may indicate an infection.

Additionally, a pneumatic otoscope can be used to examine the fluid by blowing air into the eardrum. As a result, the eardrum should move back and forth. The fluid inside your child’s ear will make it more difficult for the eardrum to move.

A third test, tympanometry, uses air pressure to check for middle ear fluid. It does not test hearing. If you or your child have recurring ear infections or fluid in the middle ear that doesn’t drain, your healthcare provider may order a hearing test by an audiologist to determine possible hearing loss.

Can an ear infection cause diaper rashes?

No, ear infections are not known to cause diaper rashes in babies and toddlers. However, the medications taken to treat the infected ear might cause red diaper rash to appear.

Doctors will be prescribing antibiotics to treat the infection and possibly prevent future infections from happening. However, your baby might have an allergic reaction to these medications. These include skin rashes and life-threatening conditions such as anaphylactic shock that may result from penicillin and sulfa antibiotics.

Knowing the causes of diaper rash is important to know the right course of action. If your baby to toddler develops a diaper rash after taking antibiotics, this could indicate a yeast infection. This could happen because not only do antibiotics kill bad bacteria, they also kill the good bacteria which could lead to yeast overgrowth.

Wash your and your child’s hands before and after each diaper change. Change diapers as often as you can. Remember to gently pat your baby’s bottom dry and clean because she has sensitive skin. Allow your child to go on without diapers for a few hours to keep the area dry.

Consider home remedies like olive oil and breast milk to treat diaper rash. If your baby is already eating solids, avoid acidic foods because they can exacerbate diaper rashes.

Take note of your child’s allergies and talk to your doctor about them.

Takeaway

A diaper rash is an inflammation of the skin that can be caused by many things, including wetness, diarrhea, and contact with feces. 

While there are many potential causes of a diaper rash, one thing that definitely doesn’t cause them is an ear infection. However, the medications that are often prescribed to treat the infected ear might cause some allergic reaction in a form of a rash and this includes a diaper rash.