Home Care Advice for Suspected Ear Infection (until you talk with your doctor)
Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen for pain relief or for fever above 102° F (39° C).
Local Cold: Apply a cold pack or a cold wet wash cloth to the outer ear for 20 minutes to reduce pain while the pain medicine takes effect. (Note: Some children prefer local heat for 20 minutes.)
- Your child may have an ear infection. The only way to be sure is to examine the eardrum.
- Diagnosis and treatment can safely wait until morning if the earache begins after your child's doctor's office is closed.
- Ear pain can be controlled with pain medicine and eardrops.
Eardrops: 3 drops of plain olive oil (or prescription eardrops) will usually relieve pain not helped by pain medicine. If your child has ear tubes or a hole in the eardrum, don't use them.
Contagiousness: Ear infections are not contagious.
Call Your Doctor If:
- If pus or cloudy fluid is draining from the ear canal, the eardrum has ruptured from an ear infection.
- Wipe the pus away as it appears.
- Avoid plugging with cotton (Reason: Retained pus causes irritation or infection of the ear canal).
- Your child develops severe pain
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. For more information, click here.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. Clinical content review provided by Senior Reviewer and Healthpoint Medical Network.
Last Review Date: 6/1/2011
Last Revised: 8/1/2011 2:56:35 PM
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Version Year: 2012
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.