Ear Pain in Kids – Causes, Symptoms and Remedies
Ear pain is very common in kids, and it is usually indicative of an ear infection that your kid may be suffering from. Earaches usually affect the middle or the outer ear of a child and can be caused due to various reasons. Though it is always advisable to seek expert advice for treating any ailment in your child, some home remedial measures also help in reducing the symptoms of ear pain in children.
Causes of Earache in Children
Here are some causes that may cause ear pain or ear infection in children:
1. Foreign Objects
Young children usually insert various small objects inside their mouth, nose and even ears. Therefore, when a foreign object is accidentally or intentionally inserted in the ear, it may cause ear pain.
2. Earwax Blockage
Sometimes when your body produces too much earwax, or your existing earwax gets pushed too deep into the ear canal, you may experience ear pain. You may even hear buzzing or ringing sounds, your ear may feel full, and you may feel severe ear pain.
3. Infection of the Sinuses or Sinusitis
When your sinuses or nasal passage becomes inflamed, you may have an infection. The mucus build up is very common in sinusitis, and this may lead to bacterial or viral infections. Such infections may lead to severe ear pains.
4. Infection in the Middle Ear
When the middle ear of your kid gets infected due to a viral or bacterial infection, it may cause severe pain. This is very common in children.
5. Cold and Cough
The ear pain in kids due to cold is also very common. This happens usually when a child has prolonged or recurrent bouts of cold or a cough.
6. Change in Ear Pressure
Your child can experience ear pain due to changes in ear pressure too. This happens due to high altitude, like when your child travels on a plane. This is also known as the aeroplane ear.
7. Ear Infection
In case your kid develops a chronic ear infection, he may experience intense ear pain.
Signs and Symptoms of Child Earache
You can identify ear pain through the following signs and symptoms in your child:
- Your kid may experience difficulty in hearing.
- Your child may experience ear pain while lying down, sucking or chewing.
- Your kid may pull or rub his ears more than usual.
- Your kid may have fever, nausea or a headache.
- There may be leakage from your kid’s ear.
- Your kid may behave in a fussier manner.
If any of the above-mentioned symptoms are noticed, you may try various home remedial measures to soothe the pain.
Home Remedies for Child Ear Pain
Here are some tried and tested home remedial measures that you may adopt to ease your kid’s ear pain:
1. Hot and Cold Compressions
You can either use a heating pad or an ice pack to soothe the ear pain of your child. Hot and cold compressions are very safe for children. The best way of relieving pain is to use alternate methods of compressions with a gap of approximately 10 minutes in between. However, if your kid is uncomfortable with either of the compression, you may use the one which your kid finds comfortable.
2. Pain-Relieving Medicines
There are many over-the-counter pain-relieving medicines available on the market such as ibuprofen. You may give such painkillers to provide relief from the pain but do not exceed the prescribed dosage. However, it is recommended that you give any medicine after consulting your doctor.
3. Tea-Tree Oil for Ear Pain
Tea tree oil is very effective in providing earache relief. This oil is loaded with anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. You may also add a few drops of olive oil with this oil, in case you are concerned about the sensitivity.
4. Chiropractic Adjustment
As strange as it may sound, a chiropractic adjustment is also very effective in providing relief from ear pains. In one of the scientific studies, it was seen that more than 90 per cent of patients who received chiropractic adjustments reported relief from ear pain after the adjustments.
5. Herbal Ear Drops
Herbal or naturopathic ear drops that you can easily procure from a naturopathy store or even online, are very effective in reducing the symptoms of ear pain in children.
6. Use Olive Oil
For centuries olive oil is used for relieving ear pain. Warm it up and pour a few drops into the affected ear of the child. Make sure the oil is not too hot. You may even consult your doctor before putting oil in your child’s ear.
7. Sleeping Position
Some sleep positions are very effective in reducing ear pain. The idea is not to put pressure on the affected ear and you should make your child sleep on the other side. You can also make your kid sleep with his head elevated, and this position will also help in pus drainage if any.
8. Use Ginger
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and thus is very effective in reducing earaches. You can either use ginger juice (obtained by scraping, squeezing and straining the ginger) or you can also use oil, in which ginger was warmed, to reduce ear pain. You may put ginger juice or oil on your kid’s outer ear and refrain from putting it directly into the ear.
9. Doing Neck Exercises
When the ear pain is caused due to the ear pressure, doing neck exercises can be extremely beneficial to ease the pressure and thus the pain. You can help your kid to do simple neck rotation exercises. It will be a good idea to consult an expert to learn the correct way of doing neck exercises.
10. Use Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has been in use as an effective home remedy for ear pain, for a long time. You can put some drops of hydrogen peroxide in the affected ear of your child and then drain them after a few minutes. Clean the ear with distilled or clean water.
11. Garlic for Earaches
Garlic has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties, and therefore it is very effective in treating ear pains. You can chop a few pods of garlic and soak them either in olive oil or sesame oil. Strain this oil and put a few drops of this infused oil in the affected ear canal.
12. Distraction Helps
When your kid is battling ear pain, one of the best remedial measures would be to create a distraction. You may show your kid a good movie, give him a new toy or simply make him his favourite snack.
When You Should Use Home Remedies
Home remedial measures are very effective in reducing the symptoms of ear pain; however, it is very important to know when you should use them. An earache because of the dental cavity will not get better with home remedies. An ear pain which is due to some kind of viral or bacterial infection may get better or be cured by home remedies. Most cases of earaches may get better in a week or two. But if your kid is less than two years of age, it is advised to seek your doctor’s help. Also, if your child develops a fever that lasts longer than a day, consult your doctor immediately.
Prevention of Kid’s Ear Pain
- Refrain from cleaning your child’s ears with sharp objects or cotton swabs.
- Refrain from feeding your kid in a lying down position (especially bottles)
- Ensure your kid washes his hands after playing with other kids or playing outside.
- If your kid swims regularly, use earplugs.
- Do not take recurrent bouts of cold and cough lightly.
- Ensure your kid gets the PVC shot, this may reduce his chances of getting a middle ear infection.
When to See the Doctor
- If there is redness and swelling behind the ear.
- Your child has a high fever (104 degrees or more)
- If a pointed object was put in the ear.
- You kid feels really sick.
- Your kid has a weak immune system.
- Your child’s ear pain at night does not subside even after giving painkillers.
Ear pains are common in children and can be managed effectively by using home remedial measures. However, you must contact a paediatrician if your kid’s symptoms do not improve, and your kid is less than two years of age.
Also Read: Home Remedies for Ear Pain in Children