Home > Kids > Children's General Health > Childhood Illnesses > Ouch Mom, My Ear Hurts! Dealing with Ear Infections in Children

Ouch Mom, My Ear Hurts! Dealing with Ear Infections in Children

In many cases, ear infections do not require the use of antibiotics, and should clear up on their own, especially if they are viral. Children over six months can be observed at home if they do not have a fever higher than 102° F, severe pain, or other symptoms or medical conditions. Still, it is always a good idea to consult your child's pediatrician regarding any of your child's illnesses.

To help alleviate pain, the NIH recommends the following over-the-counter and at-home treatments:

  • Apply a warm cloth or warm water bottle.
  • Use over-the-counter ear drops to relieve pain.
  • Give over-the counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, upon approval from your child's pediatrician. Do not give aspirin to children.
  • If your child is six months or younger and has symptoms of an ear infection, he should see a doctor.

    Antibiotics may be prescribed if the infection is caused by bacteria. All children under six months of age are prescribed antibiotics for ear infections, and children under two years will be if they have a fever, are acting sick beyond the ear pain, and have not improved in 24 to 48 hours.

    If your child has many ear infections over a short period of time, or if he does not respond to antibiotics, your pediatrician may recommend ear tubes. Ear tubes are tiny tubes inserted into the eardrums that keep a small hole open that allows air to get in so fluid can drain more easily. This procedure requires general anesthesia, and the tubes usually fall out on their own over time.

    If enlarged adenoids are the cause of your child's ear infections, surgical removal of these may be considered, especially if he continues to suffer from several infections.



    Special Books for the Kids You Love
    Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

    Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
    Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

    Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
    Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

    Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
    Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

    stay connected

    Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

    Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

    Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

    editor’s picks