28 Apr
2009

Home care

Any ear pain can be temporarily relieved by aspirin or paracetamol. Gentle heat applied to the ear may relieve pain but occasionally worsens it. Anesthetic ear drops must penetrate to the eardrum, and some ear, nose, and throat doctors prefer that these drops not be used. Nose drops and oral decongestants may unblock the Eustachian tube to relieve an earache accompanied by nasal congestion or allergy.

Precautions

• Severe earaches and earaches that last more than a few hours should be seen by your doctor.

• Children with congested noses should not go swimming.

• Babies and children under two years old should not submerge their heads underwater.

• When flying in an airplane, give your child something to drink as the plane ascends and descends.

• Early treatment of head colds and nasal allergies with nose drops and oral decongestants may prevent some ear problems.

• Children who tend to get swimmer’s ear (infection of the ear canal) should have their ear canals cleaned by a doctor at the start of each swimming season. Then preventive ear drops should be used at the end of each swimming day.

• Never put any object (not even cotton swabs) in your child’s ear canal for any reason.

Medical treatment

To determine the cause of pain, the doctor will carefully inspect your child’s ears, nose, throat, and neck. For otitis media, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics by mouth for five to ten days or until the ear is normal. Nose drops, oral decongestants, and anti-allergy medications also may be prescribed.

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