Ear infections are extremely common in children, largely because their immune systems are weaker, and their Eustachian tubes—the passageways between the middle ears and back of the throat—are much more horizontal than adults. In fact, according to a 2020 article, “About 50% of all children will have at least 1 ear infection by the time they reach their second birthday.”
An ENT physician will recommend a wait-and-see approach for milder ear infections. If this is the case for your child, you can do the following to care for them until they’ve cleared the infection.
Manage Pain & Fever with Over-the-Counter Medications
Over-the-counter medications can be given to most children with earaches until their infection clears. The medication you give, as well as the dose, is dependent on your child’s age and weight. Always consult their pediatrician or a pharmacist at Philadelphia Pharmacy on East Leigh Avenue before administering these medications.
The rule of thumb is:
- For babies under six months: only give acetaminophen (TYLENOL®).
- For children over six months: may also be given ibuprofen (Advil).
- For children of any age: never give aspirin.
Apply a Compress to Relieve Discomfort
Some children prefer a warm compress, while others prefer a cool compress. Wet a washcloth with different temperatures of water to see which they prefer to relieve their discomfort.
Give Lots of Fluids
Make sure you provide your child with a lot of fluids to keep them hydrated. Babies under six months need to be given formula or breast milk, while older children can be given both water and electrolytes.
Keep Their Head Elevated
Elevating your child’s head can relieve the pressure in their ears. If your child is over the age of two and doesn’t sleep in a crib, you can elevate their head with a pillow. If they’re younger, you can put them in a car seat for short periods of time or hold them. Never put them in their crib with a pillow.
Watch for Drainage
Your child’s ears may drain. If this happens, simply wipe it away. Don’t plug the ears with cotton balls or anything else, or this can lead to infection in the ear canal.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Pinnacle ENT today.