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     Parents Change Too
     Crises In The Family
     Health Aspects
     Your Sick Child
     Medicine Chest
     Infectious Diseases
     Other Problems
     Everyday Incidents
     Physical Handicaps


This is a common complaint in childhood and one that can understandably produce considerable anxiety because of its potential danger. Teething is a common cause of earache in infants, often causing them to pull their ear, beyond the ear drum, is connected by a short tube ( the Eustachian tube) to the back of the throat, and this provides a frequent pathway for bacteria to enter the ear from the nose and throat.

Not infrequently it is a term a child uses to mean something different from that understood by adults and, when he says ‘my tummy hurts’, the child might indeed be meaning that he feels nauseated or just unwell.


Besides pain, other symptoms may include fever, a general feeling of being unwell, occasional vomiting and, frequently, a runny nose. Often there will be a slight discharge from the ear and its appearance may coincide with a reduction in the pain, indicating a fall in the pressure that has previously been building up in the middle ear. If there is a discharge, the child should be taken to the doctor as antibiotic treatment is likely to be required.

A useful test to help differentiate the pain of acute infection from other causes (such as teething) is to gently pull the ear outwards and backwards, having first distracted the child’s attention. If such a movement is associated with discomfort it is likely to be due to a middle – ear infection, and a doctor’s advice should be sought.


For pain relief, analgesics such as soluble aspirin or Disprin should be given. The application of local heat by putting two to three drops of olive or almond oil that has been warmed to body temperature into the ear will be helpful (test the oil on your wrist to make sure it is not too hot). Infections tend to settle rapidly.

  • If the earache is sever or has persisted for more than 12 hours.
  • If there is a discharge from the ear.
  • If the child is generally unwell with fever, vomiting, etc.
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