Does Your Child Have Ear Pain?

If so, it might be an ear infection (also known as acute otitis media)

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Go to the Emergency department

If your child has a fever and is less than 3 months of age, take your child to the emergency room

Book an Appointment with Your Health Care Provider

If your child is between 3 – 6 months of age and has a fever

What is
Acute Otitis Media

Acute Otitis Media (AOM) is an ear infection caused by viruses or bacteria. It usually resolves quickly with or without antibiotics.

 

The infection occurs in the middle ear when the fluids don’t drain properly, leading to growth of bacteria and/or viruses.

 

Many parents feel nervous or uneasy when their child has ear pain. However, it is important to remain calm.

Looking for

Signs my child may have an ear infection

Your child does not need to have all of these signs to have an ear infection.

Your child may have an ear infection even if they don’t have all of these signs.

Common Signs

Ear Pulling

Ear Pain

Crying/upset

Fever

Here’s What You Can Do
Rest at home and monitoring

Recommended if your child has the following signs

Alert & Active

Pain Medication is Working

Able to Sleep & Eat

Temperature less than 39C (102F)

Mild Ear Ache/Pain

Ill for less than 48 Hours

Book an appointment with your health care provider

Recommended if your child has the following signs

Child is Upset or Can't Settle

Fluid Leaking From Ear

Severe Ear Ache/Pain

Pain Medication isn't working

High Fever Despite Medications

Ill for greater than 48 Hours

Unable to Sleep or Eat

Go to the emergency department
Recommended if your child has the following signs

If your child has a fever and is less than 3 months of age, take your child to the emergency room

Febrile Seizure Occurs

Ear Infection Detected?
What You Can Do While Resting at Home

Children with mild ear infection symptoms can be watched at home for 24-48 hours before seeking medical attention to see if symptoms get better on their own. Pain medication (e.g. acetaminophen, such as children’s Tylenol, Advil, or generic equivalent) can be given to help decrease ear pain/discomfort. Always follow the instructions on the medication.

Being Smart With Using
Antibiotics

Your health care provider may prescribe antibiotics for your child. Antibiotics may be helpful in making your child feel better, but they should only be used when necessary. Only ear infections caused by bacteria should be treated with antibiotics.

 

If your health care provider prescribes antibiotics, always follow the directions provided. Do not exceed recommended dosages and always take the entire course of antibiotics prescribed by your health care provider.

Additional Resources

Questions? Comments?

 

Contact Us

echokt@ualberta.ca

 

Updated in 2023.

© ECHO Research and ARCHE, 2019.
This resource may not be modified, reproduced or distributed without prior written consent of ECHO Research and ARCHE.
Contact shannon.scott@ualberta.ca

This Infographic was brought to you by ARCHE, ECHO, and TREKK

 

Physical treatments can include physiotherapy, prescribed exercise plans, strengthening exercises, massage, and more. 

Psychological treatments can include counselling or talk therapy, supportive therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, mediation, and more. They can be provided on a one-on-one basis or in a group setting. 

Disclaimer

The information contained in the video/multimedia content (the “Multimedia”) is provided on an “as is” basis and is offered for general information and educational purposes only; it is not offered as and does not constitute professional advice. There is no guarantee about the accuracy, applicability, fitness or completeness of the information found in the Multimedia. This information is provided without warranty of any kind, and the University of Alberta, its agents, employees, and students disclaim responsibility to any party for any loss or damage of any kind that may arise directly or indirectly as a result of the use of or reliance on the information contained in the Multimedia.

These resources may not be modified, reproduced or distributed without prior written consent of ECHO Research. Contact shannon.scott@ualberta.ca.