What to look out for
Earache usually comes on all of a sudden and the pain can be quite severe. Your child may also have a temperature. The severe pain usually lasts only a day or two.
After an ear infection, your child may still have fluid behind their ear drum which can last for several months. This may cause an uncomfortable feeling in their ears, but it is more a dull, abnormal feeling than a nasty, sharp pain. The fluid may also cause a decrease in hearing in that ear until the fluid has gone.
Most earaches in children are caused by viral infections which will clear up by themselves in three to four days. Usually, pain relief is the only treatment needed. Antibiotics will not reduce the pain of an ear infection.
If there is no fever or temperature, the earache may be caused by a wax blockage or glue ear. A sore throat can also cause an earache.
About three in four simple ear infections happen in children under 10 years of age.
What can you do
Ask your pharmacist for advice. The most important thing is to give your child paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve pain. Antibiotics will not reduce the pain of an ear infection.
When to seek help
Your child may need to see the doctor if:
- they have a discharge from their ear,
- they are very unwell, drowsy, not taking fluids, or not responding as normal to you,
- you are concerned about the earache.
As you can probably guess, this website can’t replace the advice you might get from a health professional. If you are worried about your child, please call or visit your GP or pharmacist.