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There is no doubt that earaches are usually troublesome for everyone and more so for kids. In instances where a child wakes up at night owing to severe ear pain, parents can feel helpless about not only providing relief but also in identifying the cause in the first place. However, there are ways that parents can help ease the pain and hold the fort till morning before they seek a doctor’s assistance. Most types of ear pain do not warrant antibiotics. Home-based remedies can bring considerable relief.
What are the Possible Causes of Ear Pain in Children?
Some of the possible causes of ear pain in children at night can be:
- Middle ear (area behind the eardrum) infection caused either by bacteria or viruses
- Swimmer’s ear which is an infection of the ear canal lining
- Common cold
- Pain from another body part like a sore throat, an infected tooth, or a tonsil infection
- Ear canal injury owing to a likely scrape from a fingernail or a cotton swab
- Ear canal abscess which is usually an infection that develops in the ear canal
- A blockage caused by a huge chunk of hard earwax
- Pierced ear infections
- Aeroplane ear when ear tubes get blocked due to a sudden rise in air pressure causing eardrums to stretch
How Can You Help Your Child Get through the Night When He Has Ear Pain?
Some useful tips which may aid your kid to pass the night in case of ear pain can be:
- In case of ear pain at night, medicine can be a good option to bring some relief from the ear pain. You can offer your child an apt dose of any child-safe over-the-counter pain killer like Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen.
- Home remedies include the use of a warm compress. You can use a clean, warm washcloth or a heating pad for this purpose. Apply it to your child’s ear to alleviate the pain and discomfort.
- Elevating the child’s head and keeping the sore ear side facing upward may bring respite from child ear pain at night.
- Provide plenty of fluids to your child or have him chew gum to support swallowing as it may unblock the Eustachian tube by draining excess fluid if it is present in the middle ear.
- Applying tea tree oil as ear drops for ear pain can also be considered. Tea tree oil has potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic qualities which may prove beneficial in relieving ear pain. Be sure to mix a few drops of olive oil with tea tree oil before applying it.
- At times ear pain can get triggered by some compression in the ear canal. Neck rotation exercises can significantly reduce the pressure and lessen the pain.
When to Call the Doctor?
Not all earaches need instant medical attention. However, you may want to call the doctor in the following cases:
- If your child accidentally lodged some toy or object in his ear earlier in the day
- If your child seems to have a stiff neck (unable to bend chin to touch the chest) and severe earache
- If you notice swelling, redness behind the ear or on the skin
- If your child is running a constant high fever
- If you see blood or pus draining from his ear
- If your child appears weak and very sick
Ear pain can give the entire household a sleepless night. It is important to note that an earache does not necessarily mean an infection. So, refrain from administering any antibiotics to your child unless recommended by your doctor.