One of the most common childhood illnesses, it's caused by bacteria settled behind the eardrum that cause a buildup of pressure in the middle ear canal. For your little one, this translates to pain! Other possible symptoms include fever, decreased appetite, fussiness, and sleep disturbance.
Treatment Many doctors take a minimalist approach, avoiding antibiotics and suggesting pain medicine -- but this is appropriate only for kids who can verbally express their discomfort level. Otherwise, antibiotics are prescribed.
Contagious factor Good news: ear infections are not contagious, unlike the colds that can lead to or accompany them.