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All ears to sore ears

What to do when your child complains of earache

With the summer holidays coming up, sore ears are high on the healthcare agenda. From swimming to travelling by plane, summer travel can often aggravate or cause earache. Sore ears can be particularly uncomfortable for young children and when combined with other symptoms – such as a high temperature – can be indicative of an infection.

So, what are the best ways to prevent earache, spot the symptoms and treat ear pain if your child is affected?

Little girl holding her hand over her ear as she suffers from ear pain

Spotting earache in your child

For very young children, communicating with them about their earache can be difficult. Knowing some tell-tale signs can help you identify if your baby or child is suffering from ear pain.

The NHS advises parents to look out for children rubbing or pulling their ear, not reacting to certain sounds, irritability and restlessness, loss of balance, and loss of appetite.

It is also important to monitor temperature to ensure your child does not have a fever accompanying their earache. Depending on the symptoms, you can choose one of Braun wide range of easy to use and accurate thermometers to check their temperature. For those with acute or chronic inflammatory ear pain, parents can choose the Braun No touch + forehead thermometer rather than choosing an in-ear option.

Girl swimming in swimming pool

What causes earache in your child?

Earache and ear pain can be caused by a number of different factors from sore throats to toothache, build-up of earwax to infection. Another common cause for ear ache in children is swimmer’s ear, which occurs when a child spends a lot of time in water, such as swimming lessons or during summer holidays.

close up portrait of a mother kissing to her asleep baby daughter sitting on a sofa in the living room at home with a warm light

Treating earache when it strikes

If your child has been unfortunate enough to suffer from earache, you can try a number of different options depending on the symptoms. A visit to your local pharmacist can help, advising on the over the counter treatments suitable for children, from pain relief to eardrops. A simple home remedy to try is a warm or cold flannel over the ear, which can soothe an irritable child.

If your child is complaining from earache, it is important not to put anything inside the ear, such as cotton buds, as this can compact earwax and, in some cases, lead to infection. Also, keep the ear dry and try to prevent your child from scratching or itching inside the ear canal.

Doctor in surgery examining baby girl

In most cases, earaches will pass and can be eased with some simple steps. However, it is important to read the signs and know when you might need to visit your GP. Any swelling, fluid coming from the ear, vomiting or symptoms that last from more than 3 days, seek professional assistance.

Should your little one feel hot and shivery, it is also important to take your child’s temperature with an accurate thermometer. If the reading is high, make sure you see a qualified health professional.