The most common discomfort in a child during young age is ear pain, which is caused by fluid behind the eardrum or an infection in the ear canal which is also known as swimmer’s ear.
Children less than 5 years old are at high risk. The risk gets higher after an upper respiratory infection like cold. A child who goes to daycare can get it because other children can have a cold. Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke are also at high risk. It is also common in children who are not breastfed. Breast milk contains many antibodies which will help in fighting the infection and kids who drink milk or any liquid while lying flat.
How do I check if my child has ear pain?
You will notice the following symptoms:
- Redness or swelling of the outer ear
- Pulling and rubbing the ears
- Fluid leakage from ear
- Trouble hearing
- Ear fullness or popping
- Ear pain while chewing, sucking or lying down
When to seek medical advice?
- When the child seems to have a fever while taking antibiotics
- Trouble while taking liquids
- Ear drains out pus-like fluid or blood
- Worsening pain
- Increase in swelling or redness
- Ear begins to stick out from the side of the head
How to prevent ear pain?
Your child can get a flu vaccine and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) which will reduce the odds of getting an ear infection. Following preventive measures can be taken:
- Avoid cleaning ears with cotton swabs or sharp objects
- Make sure your child does not inhale any secondhand smoke or come in contact with anyone suffering from a cold
- Teach your child the habit of washing hands after coming home and after coming from the washroom
- Do not feed the baby while lying down
- If your child wants to swim, take suggestions from a doctor if ear plugs or special ear drops are a good idea
Managing the ear pain:
You can use a warm towel compress to reduce the pain around the ear and neck area. Heating pads or small plastic bottle filled with warm water can also be used. Seek medical advice and treatment which generally comprises of Antibiotics and analgesics
Even though it is always not possible to avoid the infection/pain , timely prevention and treatment plays an important role.