When in doubt, don’t attribute baby’s behavior to teething. Let your doctor decide. Yet, here are some general ways to tell the difference between teething and an illness such as an ear infection:
1. Teething mucus is clear saliva and doesn’t run out the nose. Cold mucus is thick and yellow. A nasal discharge usually means an allergy or an infection, especially if accompanied by eye drainage.
2. Teething rarely causes a fever higher than 101° F (38.3° C).
3. Teething may be confused with an earache. Babies pull at their ears during teething, probably because of pain radiating from the teeth to the ears. Some babies just like playing with their ears. Ear-pulling in babies is an unreliable sign. With an ear infection babies usually hurt more lying down and have accompanying signs of a cold.
4. Babies don’t act progressively sicker with teething. As a general rule, when in doubt, have your doctor check it out.