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Q&A: Is it teething or an ear infection?

Dr. Christine Wood, M.D


Q The past few days my daughter (7.5 months old and has her two bottom teeth) has been fussy. She has been screaming and crying alot (which is very unusual for her). Tuesday evening was the worst, she would not calm down at all, and fought me when I was holding her. I tried everything to calm her down, but after 2 hours of straight screaming and crying, she finally calmed a bit (happened to be at 1am-3am). She has never had colic or gas problems. Could this also be a silent ear infection? She only rubs her ears when tired, and doesn't touch them at all when fussy. She does however, rub her mouth quite a bit. Any help would be appreciated, or guidance on how to make her more comfortable. I have ended up having to stay up with her all night, holding her. Help. Thanks much!

A Most of the time, ear infections occur with or just after a cold. If she has been ill at all, is fussy in the daytime also, or has a fever, she should be checked for an ear infection by the doctor. Occasionally, an ear infection will occur without a cold. If you are just noticing her problems at night, she is fine in the day and for naps, it sounds like you have a sleep problem. You can let her cry and go in after several minutes and reassure her. If you think it is teething, you can try a dose of tylenol or motrin before bedtime to see if that helps.

Christine Wood, MD

Click here to Ask Dr. Christine Wood questions about your baby's health

Dr. Christine Wood is a practicing pediatrician in Southern California. She attended the University of Detroit for her undergraduate degree in chemistry and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She completed her pediatric residency at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. She was Chief Resident there and then worked in the emergency room at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. After three years doing pediatric emergency room medicine she went into private practice. She received her lactation educator certification from the University of California, San Diego.

She is the author of "How to Get Kids to Eat Great and Love It," a book that addresses the issues of why and how to feed kids healthy. The book also covers information about environmental threats and the role of nutritional supplementation for children. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son.

Christine is also the cofounder of Call Your a website designed to give concerned parents with non-emergency medical questions, solid, no-nonsense information that can give them information in deciding when to call the doctor and some home treatment advice. You can visit her website at

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