Relief of ear pain in a child is usually dependent on treating the cause of the ear pain, such as an infection. Learn when to use pain relievers to treat ear pain with help from a pediatrician in this free video on babies and health care.
Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill and today, we're going to be talking about ear pain relief in children. Now, children get ear pain for a couple of different reasons. And I'd like to distinguish, because it makes a difference in what you're going to do. You can get infections of the ear, in two common places. The most common is a middle ear infection. That's the chamber behind the ear drum, where all the little bones that carry sound to the nerves, live. That area can get filled up with fluid, when a child has a cold or a sinus infection, and that fluid can become infected with bacteria. When that happens, many children need antibiotics. Although, children who are greater than age two, may do just fine without antibiotics. It's often just as good to watch them and do nothing in terms of medication. But, if you're going to watch them, you still want to give them something for pain, what you're going to do? Well, obvious are Acetaminophen, which is in Tylenol or Ibuprofen, which is in Advil and Motrin, these are great pain relievers. Now, in the old days, we used to say, switch them off, do one and then, four hours later, do the other. What we now know is that, that leads to incidences of over dose, it doesn't really help anymore, than using one or the other. So, pick whichever one seems to work best and stick with it. Now, if your doctor diagnoses an ear infection, he or she may in addition, prescribe a medicine that numbs up the ear drum. These are just drops, they're called Antipyrine-Benzocaine drops, A/B Otic or Oralgen or a couple of the brand names. These drops just numb up the nerves in the ear drum, when you have a middle ear infection. The ear drum is stretched out, it's inflamed, it hurts. And if you can numb up those nerves, you can buy a little bit of relief. A heating pad may also help, but remember, nobody should ever sleep on a heating pad. Because there is a significant risk of burns, that way. Now, what's the other kind of ear infection, where you can get an outer ear infection. This is what we call a swimmer's ear, it's not the inside chamber, it's kind of the hole. And everything from the hole, back to the ear drum that gets infected. These can be intensely painful. The hallmark with these, is that if you poke on this little button right here, in front of the ear or pull on the ear, they hurt pretty bad. There may also be drainage or a sense of the ear is clogged up. Now, these infections also respond to antibiotics, sometimes oral antibiotics, but more often drops that you put down in the ear. Likewise, when these infections are going on, you want to use Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, to help with the pain. But most importantly, you want to get appropriate antibiotic therapy going in there. To stop that infection and get the ear back to normal. Talking about, what to do for ear pain in children, I'm Dr. David Hill.