Treating Ear Infections in Children
Parents can often treat mild ear infections at home. More severe infections, or children under 2 years old, may need prescription medication.
Call Doctor If:
- Your baby has symptoms of an ear infection and is younger than 6 months.
- Your child has symptoms of a ear infection along with a fever of 102 F or higher, inconsolable crying, severe pain, or other symptoms.
- You see ear drainage, or the ear looks like it's sticking out.
1. Use Child-Formula Pain Relievers
- Call a pediatrician before giving your child an infant- or child-strength over-the-counter pain reliever for the first time.
- Give children's-formula acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Follow the dosing instructions on the bottle or your pediatrician's suggestions.
- Don't give aspirin to children under age 16.
2. Soothe the Ear
- Put a warm washcloth or water bottle on the ear.
3. Consider Pain-Relieving Eardrops
- Ask your pediatrician whether they might help your child.
- Don't use eardrops without asking your pediatrician.
4. Observe Your Child
- If symptoms seem to be getting worse, call a pediatrician. Your child may need further treatment.