Earache in Children and Babies: Causes, Symptoms and Remedies of Ear Infections
What causes earaches
There are many reasons children could have earaches. Sometimes, the problem is in the inner ear, which is behind the eardrum. Other times, the pain is coming from the middle ear, ear canal, or outer ear. Causes of ear pain can be:
Buildup of ear wax can cause pain
Air pressure, like on an airplane, can make the eardrum hurt
Your child may have put something small in their ear, causing pressure or a scratch
The inner or middle ear could be infected
The ear canal could be irritated or infected (swimmer’s ear)
What is an ear infection
Ear infections are bacterial or viral infections inside the ear that cause swelling and pain. Ear infections in children and babies often start with a cold or other illness. This can lead to redness, swelling, earache, and fluid in your child’s middle ear (behind the eardrum). Ear infections can be very painful for your child and sometimes cause fevers with temperatures up to 104 F. While your pediatrician may prescribe antibiotics, they typically won’t relieve ear pain for the first 24 hours, so you may have to provide additional remedies to provide pain relief.
Common ear pain symptoms in babies and children
If your baby or toddler has a painful ear infection, he or she may have a hard time eating or sleeping. Other signs your baby may have an earache or ear infection include:
Rubbing or tugging at ears
Difficulty sleeping or eating
Pain, tenderness, swelling or pressure inside ears
Crying more than usual
Dizziness, nausea or vomiting
Fluid drainage from ears
If you think your child has ear pain, or you see fluid coming out of the ear, reach out to your doctor for guidance.
Remedies to relieve ear pain in babies and children
Cover a warm heating pad with a towel and place over the infected ear. Or, try placing a warm, damp cloth over your baby’s infected ear.
One of the main medicines that helps relieve fevers and minor aches and pains in children is acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Children’s TYLENOL® and Infant’s TYLENOL®. Talk to your doctor if one of these TYLENOL® products is right for your child’s ear pain. If your child is under age 2, your doctor can provide the right dosing.
Seek guidance from a healthcare provider by visiting your child’s pediatrician if you have any questions or if the earache lasts more than three days. You can also use SmartCheck™ from Children’s TYLENOL® to take visuals of your child’s ear and share with your doctor or a telemedicine provider to check for ear infections from the comfort of home, through the SmartCheck™ iPhone® app.
Speak with your child’s pediatrician to see if a prescription antibiotic is necessary.
Ask your pharmacist if ear drops can help soothe your little one’s pain.
When will your child feel better?
Even though ear infections and earaches can be tough on both moms and kids, most will usually get better on their own in a few days. Just make sure to give your little one extra attention to help soothe their pain and talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
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