We are experiencing exceptionally high volumes in our emergency rooms.
Every patient is important to us, and we are doing all we can to provide care quickly and efficiently.
Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

First Aid: Earaches

First Aid

What Are Earaches?

Earaches in children are common. They can be caused by fluid behind the eardrum, an infection in the middle part of the ear, or an infection in the ear canal (also known as swimmer's ear). Kids under 5 years old are at a higher risk for ear infections, especially after upper respiratory infections (like a cold).

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of an Ear Infection?

  • ear pain (especially when chewing, sucking, or lying down)
  • redness or swelling of the outer ear
  • pulling or rubbing the ears
  • leakage from the ear
  • trouble hearing
  • ear fullness or popping
  • fussiness
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • fever

What to Do

  • Call the doctor for advice or to have your child's ears checked.
  • Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed to relieve pain (check instructions carefully for correct amount). Don't give ibuprofen to an infant under 6 months of age.

Get Medical Care if:

  • your child seems ill while on antibiotics
  • your child has trouble taking liquids
  • the ear drains pus-like fluid or blood
  • the ear pain worsens
  • there is swelling and redness behind the ear
  • the ear begins to stick out from the side of the head

Think Prevention!

  • Make sure your kids get the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and the flu vaccine, which may reduce their odds of getting middle ear infections.
  • Do not clean ears with cotton swabs or sharp objects.
  • Avoid secondhand smoke and anyone with a cold (both can increase the likelihood of ear infections).
  • Make sure kids get in the habit of washing their hands, especially after playing around other kids.
  • Don't give a bottle when your baby is lying down.
  • Ask the doctor if earplugs and special ear drops are a good idea for a child who swims a lot.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date Reviewed: Jun 1, 2018

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.