Earaches and ear infections are quite common among infants and toddlers. They can be quite painful and really distressing to both you and your child, especially if you’re not sure what has brought it on. You may not immediately spot the signs of an ear infection, but some information can help you understand why your child gets earaches, and how you can help them when this happens.
What causes earache?
Earache is almost always caused by a bacterial or viral infection. For example, when your child has a cold, bacteria can grow in the penial passages that connect the middle ear to the nose. Once these passages get blocked, the middle ear becomes infected and inflamed. This condition is also known as otitis media. The build-up inside the ear then exerts pressure on the eardrum, causing it to bulge and become painful.
Other causes of earaches include:
- Fluid building up inside the ear
- Earwax or other objects blocking the ears
- Injury to the ear canal from inserting cotton buds or other sharp objects
Take your child to the paediatrician in case they complain of a painful ear and you’re not sure of the cause.
What are some signs of earache?
Earache can make your child miserable and worry you as well. Look out for these warning signs:
- Sharp, dull, or burningpain in one or both the ears
- The child is pointing at or pulling at the ear
- Problems in hearing clearly
- Irritability or frequent crying
- Problems in falling asleep or staying asleep
- Fluid dripping out of the ear
Ways to relieve your child’s earache
Most earaches are mild in nature and clear up in no time, sometimes in just a few hours. But if there is pain, let your child rest seated upright instead of lying down, so that some of the pressure in the ear may be relieved, and the pain may be reduced.
If you feel that there is no improvement in your child’s earache, be sure to take your child to the doctor at once. The doctor will prescribe antibiotics or eardrops to help your child recover from the pain faster.