Earache and ear pain is common, particularly in young children. Although painful, it isn’t usually a sign of anything serious.How long earache lasts depends on what’s causing the pain. Most earaches in children are a result of an ear infection, most of which start to improve after a few days. Earache can affect one or both ears.
To spot an earache in babies and young children watch out for:
- Rubbing or pulling their ears
- Not reacting to some sounds.
- Have a temperature of 38C or above
- Are irritable or restless
- Are not hungry
- Keep losing their balance
Earache and ear pain can be caused by many things but here are the most common causes:
- If with toothache, teething or dental abscess
- If with a change in hearing, can result from ear wax build-up, an object stuck in the ear or a perforated eardrum
- With swallowing, a sore throat or tonsillitis
- With a fever, an ear infection, flu or cold inflammation and infection cause itching, which means you can scratch more and things get worse. Shampoo, hairspray or sunblock often have the same effect and can be even more harmful, as the chemicals contained can irritate the sensitive ear canal skin.
- Swimming. Outer ear infections crop up regularly in keen swimmers, due to the water frequently lodging in the ear canal. It is more of a problem if you swim in rivers or ponds which are not clean.
- Warm weather. Outer ear infections are more likely to develop in hot and humid conditions and is therefore more common in hot countries.