The most common cause of children's earaches is an infection. Your child might develop an earache because of an upper respiratory infection like the common cold. Children might also experience earaches because of a sudden injury to the ear.
There are three categories of middle ear infections, each with its own specific set of symptoms. These are:
In this, the most common kind of ear infection, your child’s middle ear is swollen and infected. This swelling traps fluid in the back of the eardrum and the pressure causes your child to have an earache. Acute otitis media may also cause a fever.
This type of ear infection causes fluid to remain in the back of your child’s eardrum, even after the pain and other symptoms have passed. Your child may have few or no symptoms, so this type of ear infection can be hard to identify. Children who have otitis media with effusion may tell you that their ears feel stuffed or full.
This occurs when your child has trouble with fluid that stays trapped in the back of the eardrum, or when the fluid keeps returning once cleared out. This type of infection can be serious and can cause hearing problems if not resolved. Children who suffer from chronic otitis media with effusion may have almost constant pain due to fluid buildup and will often say their ears feel full.
Treatment depends on the type of infection, your child's symptoms, and other individual factors. In many cases, doctors treat acute middle ear infections with antibiotics. Your child will typically take antibiotics for 7-10 days in total. Be sure that your child finishes the entire prescription, even though they'll usually start feeling better after just a day or two.
The pediatrician may also recommend pain relief medications such as acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) or ibuprofen (brand name Motrin) to help alleviate pain and reduce body temperature if your child has a fever.
If ear infections are causing trouble for your child, the team of pediatric specialists at Pediatrics of Southwest Houston can help resolve the pain and other symptoms for good. Make an appointment through the online tool or call us anytime.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!