Earaches are very common in children. In fact, they are one of the most common complaints that bring parents to the doctor. Because babies and children have very tiny parts in their inner ear, they are more susceptible to infections, which will result in an earache.
What causes a child’s earache? Most commonly, the ache is caused by infection. Here are a few things to understand about what can make your little one’s ears hurt:
Earaches can be caused by viral or bacterial infections. They will need to be treated differently, so be sure to consult a doctor.
Children are most susceptible to earaches when they are between the ages of six months and two years.
Most children get an ear infection about three days after they came down with a cold.
Not all ear infections are linked to colds.
Ear infections are not contagious. If your child has had an infection, you need only keep them out of school or day care for as long as they feel bad.
Because very young children can suffer from earaches, they may not know how to tell you that something is wrong. The symptoms you need to watch for, especially in babies, include:
- Pulling at the ear
- Reporting pain from the ear
- Crying excessively
- Fussier than normal behavior
- Inability to sleep
- Red ears
When to Call the Doctor
Generally, it is a good idea to make an appointment with the ENT if your child has an earache at all. Because the pain is usually associated with an infection, medication must be used to clear it up. You definitely need to call the doctor in the following situations:
- The child is sluggish or unresponsive.
- The child has a swollen ear.
- The earache doesn’t get better in a couple of hours.
- The child has a stiff neck.
- Fever exceeds 40 degrees Celsius.
- There is pus or discharge coming from the ear.
- The child already suffers from sickle cell disease or cancer or has had an organ transplant.
An earache is very common in children, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. If your child has an earache, this is most commonly a sign of infection, and this shouldn’t be left alone. If your child has an earache, especially if the discomfort is chronic, then you need to arrange an appointment to see an ear nose and throat specialist.