Managing children’s ear infections and earache

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A child with sore ears is a very unhappy child. Worse still, if they’re still too little to let you know what’s going on, it can take a lot of trial and error to work out what the problem is. What are the signs of earache and ear infections, and what should you do if your baby has one?

We’ve teamed up with Children’s Panadol to provide you with lots of quick and helpful information covering many aspects of children’s health and development. We hope you’ll find them a great resource as you take care of your family every day.

Managing earache in children

Earache and ear infections are common in babies and small children, with the majority of children having at least one episode by the time they turn three years old. They often follow a cold. It can be difficult to tell whether your child is simply suffering from an earache accompanying a cold, or a more serious ear infection, as the signs are similar.

Signs and symptoms

  • Unwell, irritable or cries a lot
  • Pulls at or rubs their ear
  • Complains of an earache
  • Complains of a headache
  • A fever
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble hearing or needing the TV up loud.

How to treat ear infections

If not treated, ear infections can cause ruptured ear drums and hearing problems, so it’s important to see your doctor if the pain lasts for more than a few hours or increases in intensity. Antibiotics are not always needed for ear infections, although sometimes children need several courses of antibiotics to clear the infection.

Glue ear

Persistent ear infections may result in ‘glue ear’, which is a build-up of fluid in the ear. Your child may need an operation to insert grommets (small tubes) to help drain the ear and prevent further infections.

Taking care of your child’s ears

Never poke anything (such as cotton buds) into your child’s ear – their ears don’t need cleaning and you may damage them. If there is a build-up of wax in their ear, discuss this with your pharmacist or family doctor. For pain and fever, give paracetamol as directed on the pack and consult your doctor.

This is an excerpt from The First Five Years, which is a handy and easy to navigate book, specifically developed to help parents. It contains a comprehensive collection of practical parenting information and useful tips for your child’s first five years. If you’ve ever wanted a quick guide to refer to in the middle of the night, or to help you decide when it’s time to see a doctor, this is a resource which will help you on your way. You can view it online or download it for free at The First Five Years.

(This is a sponsored post for Children’s Panadol)

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