An ear infection is an infection behind the eardrum. The most frequent kind of ear infection in children is called otitis media. It usually starts with a cold. Ear infections can hurt a lot. Children with ear infections often fuss and cry, pull at their ears, and sleep poorly. Older children will often tell you that their ear hurts.
Most children will have at least one ear infection. Fortunately, children usually outgrow them, often about the time they enter grade school.
Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat ear infections. Antibiotics aren't always needed, especially in older children who aren't very sick. Your doctor will discuss treatment with you based on your child and his or her symptoms. Regular doses of pain medicine are the best way to reduce fever and help your child feel better.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed
Enter J159 in the search box to learn more about "Ear Infections (Otitis Media) in Children: Care Instructions."
Current as of:
July 29, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
© 2006-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.