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How a simple ear infection could have killed this mum's little boy.

This mother’s scary Facebook photo has already been shared more than 750,000 times.

A mother’s instinct has saved her little boy from possible death. Now she wants to make sure other parents are aware of just how dangerous a common childhood complaint can be.

Amber Ella’s young son Markus had what seemed to be a basic ear infection, so she took him to the family doctor and was prescribed antibiotics. Later that night she noticed redness and swelling behind her son’s ear. She called the doctor, but he said not to worry – that she should just wait for the antibiotics to work and call back in a couple of days.

But Ella wasn’t so sure.

“I just kept thinking, ‘Oh my, he just don’t look right,'” the Canadian mum remembers.

Ignoring her doctor’s advice, Ella took Markus to hospital. The hospital staff immediately gave him a CT scan and announced Markus had mastoiditis. They quickly operated, cutting into his head behind his ear, drilling to drain fluid and inserting tubing. 

Ella wants everyone to see what happened to her son Markus.

Ella was told that if the mastoiditis hadn't been caught and treated in time, Markus could have suffered hearing loss, meningitis, brain abscess or even death. 

"If I would have waited my life could have been changed forever," she says, "but thankfully I went with my instincts and went to the hospital.

"Thank God for instincts."

Ella posted a photo of her son's ear on Facebook and asked everyone to share the post. So far, more than 750,000 people have.

The mum-of-four wants other parents to look out for redness and swelling behind the ear when their own children have ear infections.

"Please, when your kids say their ear hurts, always look for the signs," she warns.

Ella wants to make sure other parents look out for the warning signs.

Mastoiditis is caused by an infection of the middle ear that has gone untreated, leading to an infection of the mastoid (the bone behind the ear). The best way to avoid it is to always treat ear infections as early as possible. Make sure your child takes the whole course of antibiotics, as recommended by your doctor.

Other warning signs of mastoiditis include fever, pain and discharge from the ear. In severe cases, the ear might stick out. Babies with mastoiditis will often become very irritable.

Mastoiditis used to be a leading cause of death among children. Now, thanks to antibiotics, death is very rare.

Have you ever trusted your own instincts over your doctor's advice and been proven right?

If you have any concerns about your child's health, please contact your GP.

Want more? Try:

6 signs your child needs to go to hospital. And 6 signs they don't.

"You might think it's healthy but it is actually harming your child."

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