People often think that earache is a minor nuisance. However, ear pain in kids is really unbearable. Many kids find it hard to deal with the devastating pain. If your child has severe ear pain, speaking to a doctor is always recommended. But, there are remedies you can use at home for relieving severe earaches.
What Is An Ear Ache?
If your baby cries for hours than usual, it may have ear pain. According to some researches, 5 out of 6 children are likely to have an infection in the ear. So, ear pain in kids is a common thing. They could be caused by an infection in the middle ear, fluid behind the eardrum, or infection in the ear canals. Children under five years are easily prone to ear infections.
Causes of Ear Aches In Kids
1. Fluid Behind Eardrum:
This condition is called otitis media with effusion. It happens when the Eustachian tube gets blocked and allows the fluid collected behind the eardrum. Antibiotics are not recommended here, as there is no infection. So, treatment aims at controlling the symptoms. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen is required for pain relief. Using warm compresses is also beneficial.
The condition usually resolves within three months. Your kid may experience mild hearing loss, which is temporary. Follow some strategies to cope with the situation.
- Speak louder to your child than usual. Make use of gestures and direct eye contact
- Minimize background noise like TV and radio volume while speaking to the affected kid
Take your child to an ENT if the fluid exists for more than 3 months. The ENT recommends ear tubes that help in draining the fluid
2. Ear Infection:
When the Eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid gets accumulated in the middle ear allowing bacteria and viruses to develop in the fluid. This condition is referred to as acute otitis media.
Usually, these infections occur as a result of viral infection in the upper respiratory organ. The condition is common in the winter season. Antibiotics are employed for an ear infection. Techniques to prevent ear infections are:
- Keep away from second-hand smoke
- Keep your children vaccinated, particularly influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations
- Breastfeeding for the first six months
- Stay away from bottle propping
For worst conditions, referring an ENT is a superior choice, because he or she recommends tubes are draining the fluid
3. Swimmer’s Ear:
Also referred to as otitis externa, the swimmer’s ear is the result of an infection that occurred in the external ear canal. Skin scratching or irritation in-ear canal causes infection
Tropical ear drops are helpful in treating the swimmer’s ear. Use pain killers like ibuprofen if needed.
Preventive Measures For Swimmer’s Ear Include:
- Use ear drops with alcohol or acetic acid after swimming
- Wear earplugs while swimming
- Dry the ear after swimming using a hairdryer
Signs & Symptoms Of Ear Infections:
- Earache particularly when lying down, sucking, or chewing
- Rubbing or pulling the ears
- Swelling or redness found in the outer ear
- Fluid leakage from the ear
- Trouble in hearing
- Ear popping or fullness
How To Treat Ear Ache?
- Earaches become worse while lying down. Therefore, try to keep your children sit or sleep with an elevated head.
- Using ibuprofen or acetaminophen helps in discomfort. But, be sure to follow the guidelines given by a physician or instructions on the label.
- Avoid giving aspirin to any child, as it may cause Reye Syndrome. It is an illness making the liver and brain to swell.
- Warm compressing helps in easing ear discomfort. But, handle with care, because excess heat may burn your child’s skin.
- Avoid inserting anything into the ear like buds to clean. Cleaning the outer ear is enough with a clean, warm cloth.
When to hire a doctor?
Seek immediate medical care or call your physician if:
- Your child has a high fever
- The outer area of the ear becomes red or starts to swelling
- There is fluid or blood draining from the ear
- Finally, ear pain in kids becomes worse, persistent, and not managed with home care remedies
Home Remedies for Ear Ache
An ear infection can cause severe pain. However, there are measures to be taken to ease the pain. Given below are certain home remedies for ear pain in kids.
1. Warm compress – Place a warm compress on your child’s ear for 10-15 minutes. This helps in reducing pain
2. Warm oil – If no fluid is getting drained from your children’s ear, add a few drops of warm sesame oil or olive air in the infected air
3. Acetaminophen – Acetaminophen helps in relieving fever and pain for babies older than six months
4. Stay Hydrated – Provide fluids to your children frequently. Swallowing can open the blocked Eustachian tube so that trapped fluid gets drained
5. Homeopathic eardrops – Usually, homeopathic ear drops contain the extracts of natural ingredients like mullein, garlic, calendula, olive oil, and lavender, which help to lower the pain and inflammation
6. Elevate your child’s head – Slight elevation of your baby’s head improves sinus drainage. Instead of placing pillows under your child’s head, place one or two pillows under the mattress.
How To Prevent Earaches?
- Keep second-hand smoke at bay – Protect your child from exposure to second-hand smoke, as it may cause severe infection in the ear.
- Breastfeeding – Breastfeeding a baby for about a year is often recommended. Antibodies present in the mild prevent ear infections
- Clean and hygienic environment – Make sure the surrounding is free from flu and cold bugs. If someone is found sick in your home, frequent washing of hands will keep germs away
- Proper bottle position – While bottle feeding your baby, holding the baby in a semi-upright position will protect the formula from flowing back to the Eustachian tubes.
- Vaccinations – Update your children immunization, specifically in case of pneumococcal vaccines and flu shots
We know ear pain in kids is a devastating situation. So, please immediately seek the assistance of your pediatrician, if your baby is experiencing any ear pain. Contacting the ENT specialist is the best choice if your kid is having a recurrent infection in-ear, trouble in hearing, or fluid draining from the ear.