5 Common Myths About Ear Infections in Toddlers- Debunked!

FamilyKids & Teens

  • Author Kevin Mccurry, Md
  • Published October 23, 2022
  • Word count 628

5 Common Myths About Ear Infections in Toddlers—Debunked!

As a parent, it’s normal to worry about your child’s health—especially when they’re sick. And when your toddler has an ear infection, it can be difficult to know what to do or who to believe. With that in mind, I wanted to bust some common myths about ear infections in toddlers. Read on to learn the truth about these pesky infections!

Myth #1: Ear infections are caused by cold weather.

Fact: While cold weather doesn’t cause ear infections, it can make them more likely. That’s because when viruses that cause colds circulate through communities during the winter months, they can also lead to ear infections. So while you can’t prevent your toddler from getting a cold (and thus, an ear infection) by keeping them indoors during the winter, you can minimize their susceptibility by having them wear a scarf or hat when they go outside. Good hand hygiene is very important as most upper respiratory infections (URI’s) are passed by hand to face touches.

Myth #2: Ear infections only happen in children.

Human ear anatomy. Ears inner structure, organ of hearing. Ear cochlea inner, vestibule acoustic sound sensory organ, biology medicine healthcare vector illustration

Fact: Adults can get ear infections, too! However, they’re much less common in adults than in children. That’s because the eustachian tubes, connecting the middle ear and the throat, in children’s ears are shorter and narrower than those in adults, which makes it easier for bacteria and viruses to get trapped in the middle ear. In fact, most children will have at least one ear infection before they turn three years old.

Myth #3: All antibiotics are effective against ear infections.

Fact: Not all antibiotics are created equal—some are more effective against certain types of bacteria than others.Opens in a new tab. That’s why it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting your child on antibiotics for an ear infection. They’ll be able to prescribe the best medication for your child based on the specific type of infection they have. Additionally, some ear infections are caused by viruses and no antibiotic is effective against any virus.

Myth #4: Ear infections always go away on their own.

Fact: While some ear infections do resolve without treatment, others may require antibiotics to clear up completely. That’s why it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional if you think your child may have an ear infection. They’ll be able to advise you on whether or not treatment is necessary.

Myth #5: There’s nothing you can do to prevent ear infections.

Fact: There are actually a few things you can do to help prevent your child from getting an ear infection! For example, you can reduce their exposure to tobacco smoke, which has been linked to an increased risk of middle-ear infections. You can also make sure they’re up-to-date on their vaccinations, as some vaccines—like the pneumococcal vaccine, sometimes referred to as the ear infection vaccine—can help protect against ear infections. Finally, if your child does get a cold, you can help clear their nasal passages by suctioning out any mucus with a bulb syringe, or blowing their nose if they have those skills.


Ear infections are one of the most common childhood illnesses—but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t misinformation out there about them! I hope this article helped debunk some common myths about toddlers and ear infections. Remember, if you think your child may have an ear infection, be sure to consult with a healthcare professional so they can advise you on the best course of treatment.

To your good health,

Dr Kevin McCurry

I'm Dr. Kevin McCurry. I’ve spent the last 30+ years helping my patients navigate complex medical issues. I am here to provide honest answers to your burning questions.

A brief history:

2022-Pres: Clinic Director | Arbor Health (AH)

2016-Pres: Chief Medical Officer | AH

2011-2021: ER Physician | AH, 1993-2011: Family Med Physician | Riffe Medical Center

Interim CEO at AH, Morton Hospital

Clinical Instructor: UW School of Medicine & WSU College of Medicine


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