By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The bane of many parents with young children is often that middle-of-the-night crying child with an earache.

That usually means a trip to the pediatrician.

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As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported Thursday, telemedicine and a clever new device can make life a lot easier for parent and child.

Ear pain is the number one reason kids go to the pediatrician, 30 million doctor visits a year. But the vast majority of cases are not bacterial infections that antibiotics don’t help.

How do you tell the difference?

“You really need to see a clinician with, you know, expert training, but who can use the right tools to actually see the middle ear and offer you an accurate diagnosis,” Dr. Angela Fusaro said.

Six-year-old Bolton Ruth sort of remembers earaches from his younger days.

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“I don’t feel … I tell my dad I don’t feel good,’ Bolton said.

But dad certainly remembers them and trips to the doctor.

“My wife and I both work, and so it’s a game of, will this time work for you? Or can you take him? Can I take him?” Brent Ruth said.

That’s what led Dr. Fusaro to found Physician 360, a combination of a telemedicine consult with a clever home otoscope, a thin pencil-size device, with a light and a camera that connects to your computer or tablet device.

That connects you to a board-certified medical professional from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, 365 days a year, who can carefully direct you into the child’s ear and use that visual to help make a diagnosis.

“Your kids might really benefit from having some ear drops or having some fever reducer or having some other type of symptomatic support so that they’ll start feeling better and stop crying and acting fussy and you can get back to your regular life,” Fusaro said.

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The cost for the home otoscope is $80 and includes your first telehealth visit. Subsequent visits are usually covered by insurance.

Dr. Max Gomez