Earache and ear pain is common, particularly in young children. It can be painful, but is not usually a sign of anything serious.
How long it lasts depends on what's causing it. Most earaches in children are caused by an ear infection, which usually start to improve after a few days.
A young child might have earache if they:
- Rub or pull their ear.
- Do not react to some sounds.
- Have a temperature of 38C or above.
- Are irritable or restless.
- Are off their food.
- Keep losing their balance.
Earache and ear pain can affect one or both ears.
- Take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (children under 16 should not take aspirin).
- Place a warm or cold flannel on the ear.
- Put anything inside your ear, such as cotton buds.
- Try to remove earwax.
- Let water get inside your ear.
When should I seek medical help?
- If you have earache for more than three days.
You or your child have earache and:
- Become generally unwell
- A very high temperature or feel hot and shivery
- Swelling around the ear
- Fluid coming from the ear
- Hearing loss or a change in hearing
- Something stuck in the ear
- Your child is under 2 and has earache in both ears