Treating and preventing your child’s earaches
Ear infections - why do kids get them more often? Well, they're smaller, so their eustachian tubes (a little channel connecting the middle ear to the throat) are smaller, too. That makes it easier for them to get blocked, and for viruses and bacteria to get in and stay in. If kids' ears hurt, they have a fever, or seem to have trouble hearing, here's how to help ease the pain:
- Try a warm (not hot) heating pad covered with a towel. A warm, moist cloth over the ear can also work.
- If they're old enough, give them a piece of gum. Chewing may help reduce the pressure and relieve your child's earache.
- Call your pediatrician if it hurts for more than 3 days. The good news is, many clear up before then.
To help put a stop to future earaches:
- Make frequent hand-washing a must. Keeping everyone's hands clean at home and at school can help prevent the viruses that cause infections.
- Set a no-sharing rule when a family member's sick. That goes for utensils, cups and towels.
- Keep kids away from secondhand smoke. The dust and fumes can increase their risk for fluid build-up in the ear, and infection.