Ear Pain in Children or Kids
Ear pain, also known as otalgia, is a common problem among children as there are many factors that contribute to ear pain in children. Ear pain in children could be a result of an infection, pressure or an injury caused to the ear. Pointing out the exact reason of the pain becomes difficult when the child is too young to express or speak about the problem. In some cases, child may even fail to judge the exact painful area of the ear. Figuring out the exact problem is hence very important to initiate treatment and help the child recover.
The Eustachian tube is a small, narrow tube that is the connection between the middle ear and the nasal passages. The Eustachian tube helps in draining out the fluid from the middle ear in order to balance the pressure of the ear. Inflammation of the Eustachian tube results in building up of secretions due to allergies and colds causing infection and ear pain.
Children aged between six months and two years are more prone to ear infections.
Causes & Risk Factors of Ear Pain in Children or Kids
- Ear infections are caused by bacteria or viruses.
- Stuck object in the ear.
- Excess ear wax.
- Perforated or ruptured eardrum.
- Sinus infection.
- Sore throat.
- Irritation in ear canal due to cotton swabs.
- Shampoo or soap when left in the ear.
- Common cold.
Signs & Symptoms of Ear Pain in Children or Kids
- Symptoms of allergy or cold in infants.
- Pulling the ear due to ear pain.
- Toddler may cry due to pain in the ear.
- Patient gets irritated due to ear pain
- Change in appetite.
- Difficulty in sleeping.
- Fluid discharge from the ear.
- Patient may also have temporary loss of hearing in the affected ear.
Treatment for Ear Pain in Children or Kids
Given below are some of the ways of treatment that can help relieve ear pain in children.
Medicines for Ear Pain:
Ibuprofen or acetaminophen are the medicines that not only help in relieving pain but are also used for the patients suffering with fever above 102 degrees.
Cold Pack and Ear Pain:
Application of cold pack to the outer ear for about 20 minutes helps in reducing pain till the time pain killers start working. Alternatively local heat can also be used instead of cold pack.
Warm Compresses and Ear Pain:
Some children also get relief from warm compresses therefore application of warm washcloth to the ear also helps in relieving ear pain to some extent.
Sleep and Ear Pain:
Make the patient to sleep on the painless ear as this may also help the patient suffering with ear pain. Keeping the painful ear upwards while sleeping may help in reducing the discomfort.
Warm Oils and Ear Pain:
Oils such as vegetable oil, garlic oil and olive oil are also helpful in relieving pain if few drops of any of these oils are poured into the affected ear. Make a note not to use too much hot oil and also avoid using these oils in case of a hole in the eardrum or ear tubes.
Anesthetics and Ear Pain:
Anesthetic ear drops are used when other treatments fail to work satisfactorily. Anesthetic ear drops help in numbing down the eardrum in order to reduce the pain for a couple of hours.
Prevention for Ear Pain in Children or Kids
- Smoking near children must be avoided as this could result in ear infections in children.
- Avoid putting objects in the ear to dry it after swimming or bathing as this may result in outer ear infections causing ear pain.
- Taking safety measures to control allergies helps in preventing ear pain.
Test to Diagnose Ear Pain in Children or Kids
A complete objective and subjective examination is performed to diagnose ear pain. Physical examination may exhibit the presence of infection. Throat and nose is also examined for any other potential issues. Keeping a record of symptoms related to ear pain right from the onset of the problem could also be helpful in diagnosis.