Earaches can be caused by several things including infection, pressure, colds, and foreign bodies in the ear canal.  The cause of an earache cannot be determined without examining a child.

The tube that allows the middle ear to drain is very narrow.  Usually this passage is open and allows fluid to pass easily to the throat.  However, with a cold or allergies this tube can become blocked and fluid builds up.  Sometimes bacteria start to grow in that fluid and this can cause a middle ear infection.  Ear infections can develop very quickly.  This type of ear infection needs to be treated with antibiotics.

The tube that is on the outside of the eardrum can also get infected and this is called otitis externa.  This can be treated with antibiotic drops.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Decreased feeding
  • Pulling on the ears or pain in the ear
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble hearing
  • Irritability
  • Cough
  • Runny nose or congestion

Call or make an appointment online if you think your child may have an ear infection or has something stuck in his ear canal.

Antibiotics will not be prescribed by phone.  Your child must be examined for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

 Return to the Childhood Illness Guide.