Middle Ear

Ear Ache (Acute Otitis Media)

What causes earache?

  • earache happens when a cold or infection spreads up the small tubes that connect the ear to the back of the nose and throat
  • the tubes swell shut and infection builds in the middle ear behind the ear drum
  • the ear drum bulges out, it becomes red and pain increases

How can I tell if my child has earache?

  • your child may cry or grizzle more than usual
  • keep touching their ear again and again
  • have a discharge from the ear, sometimes called a runny or leaking ear
  • older children may tell you that their ear is sore

Take Action

  • the child’s ear needs to be assessed by an Ear Nurse or doctor.
  • antibiotics are not always needed
  • go back and see your doctor if your child is not getting better
  • if the infection bursts through the ear drum, the puss can be cleaned from the ear canal using micro-suction.
  • use pain relief to keep the child as comfortable as possible, stretching ear drums are extremely painful. Always follow the directions carefully.

How to Prevent Ear Infections

  • attend regular health checks with your child
  • breastfeed if you can
  • keep your home and car smokefree
  • reduce the risks of allergies and asthma