When To Call a Doctor
Call your doctor immediately if:
- Your child has sudden hearing loss, severe pain, or
- Your child seems to be very sick with symptoms such as a
high fever and stiff neck.
- You notice redness, swelling, or pain
behind or around your child's ear, especially if your child doesn't move the
muscles on that side of his or her face.
Call your doctor if:
- You can't quiet your child who has a severe
earache by using home treatment over several hours.
- Your baby pulls or
rubs his or her ear and appears to be in pain (crying,
- Your child's ear pain increases even with
- Your child has a fever of
101°F (38.3°C) or higher with
other signs of ear infection.
- You suspect that your child's eardrum
has burst, or fluid that looks like pus or blood is draining from the
- Your child has an object stuck in his or her
- Your child with an ear infection continues to have symptoms
(fever and pain) after 48 hours of treatment with an
- Your child with an ear tube
develops an earache or has drainage from his or her ear.
Watchful waiting is when you and your doctor
watch symptoms to see if the health problem improves on its own. If it does, no
treatment is needed. If the symptoms don't get better or if they get worse, then
it's time to take the next treatment step.
Your doctor may recommend watchful waiting if your child is 2 years of age or older, has mild ear pain, and is otherwise healthy. Most
ear infections get better without antibiotics. But if your child's pain doesn't
get better with nonprescription children's pain reliever (such as
acetaminophen) or the symptoms continue after 48 hours, call a doctor.
Who to see
Health professionals who can diagnose and treat
ear infections include:
Children who often get ear infections may need to see
one of these specialists:
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Charles M. Myer, III, MD - Otolaryngology
September 10, 2012
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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