Earache is ear pain is common, particularly in young children.
It can be painful, but is not normally a sign of anything serious.
How long does it last for?
This can depend on what is causing the earache.
Most earaches in children are caused by an ear infection, which normally starts to improve after a few days.
How to spot earache in babies and younger children
A baby or young child may have earache if they;
- Rub or pull their ear(s)
- Do not react to some sounds
- Are irritable or wrestless
- Have a temperature of 38C or above
- Keep losing their balance
- Are off their food
Earache or ear pain can affect one or both ears
How to treat earache yourself
There are some things to help relieve earache and ear pain
- Use painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to help manage the pain (Always check the dosage instructions when administering pain relief and consult a pharmacy if you are unsure)
- 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 into your or your child's ear
A Pharmacist can help with earaches
A pharmacist might be able to tell you;
- What you can do to treat earache yourself
- If you can buy anything over the counter to help (Such as eardrops)
- If you need to see a GP
You should see a GP if;
- You or your child has had earache for over 3 days
- You or your child keeps getting earache
Get an urgent GP appointment if;
You or your child have earache and;
- Become generally unwell
- Have a very high temperature or feel hot and shivery
- Suffer from hearing loss or a sudden change in hearing
- Have swelling around the ear
- Your child is under 2 years old and has earache in both ears
- Have fluid coming from the ear(s)
- Have something stuck in the ear(s)
If you are unable to obtain an urgent appointment, you should call 111 or visit 111 online
What causes earache and ear pain?
There are many things that can cause earache or ear pain. Occasionally it is not known by what.
Some common causes are;
Ear pain with toothache - Children Teething, Dental Abscess
Ear pain with change in hearing - Glue Ear, Earwax Build up, An object stuck in the ear (Do not try to remove this yourself, contact a GP), Perforated Eardrum (Partifularly after a loud noise or accident)
Ear pain with pain when swallowing - Sore Throat, Tonsillitis, Quincy (A complication of tonsillitis)
Ear pain with fever - Ear infection, Flu, Cold