Welcome to Pharmacy Help. Providing Professional Caring Service just for you.

Health Facts

General Health


Toddlers & Children




Fear of the Ear Ache

With the nights getting chilly and the jumpers coming out of the closets, the fear of ear ache is in the air!

Ear aches are never nice, and unfortunately they tend to occur more commonly in young children than they do in older kids or adults. The reason for this is that the eustachian tube, a tube connecting the ear to the back of the nose, is narrower in children than it is in adults. When there is inflammation in the ear or a collection of fluid - either as water from bathing or swimming, or as mucous or phlegm collecting during a cold - the tube narrows even further and can become blocked. This causes an increase in pressure and intense pain, and hence why targeting the pain is the first objective when approaching treatment of an ear ache.

In children there are a number of analgesics available for easing symptoms of an ear ache. These include ibuprofen, an ant-inflammatory that can be used from 6 months of age, and paracetamol, a simple analgesic the can be used in children as young as 1 month old. Your pharmacist will be able to have a chat with you about which is most suitable for your child and what dose you should be giving.

Usually pain relief, is all that is needed to treat an ear ache. There is a general misconception that ear aches need antibiotics, however 4 out of 5 children will have their pain resolve within a day or two. Pain lasting any longer than this should always be investigated by a doctor. Your doctor will be able to advise whether there is a need for antibiotics or whether continuing with analgesia is all that is needed.

In addition to the pain relief there are a few steps you can take to help make you child more comfortable;

  • A cold pack or cold wet wash cloth applied to the outer ear for 20 minutes may reduce pain.
  • For children old enough to safely chew gum, chewing may help relieve the pain and pressure of an ear infection.
  • If a child is uncomfortable lying down, resting in an upright position may help reduce pressure in the middle ear.
  • And last but not least, lots of comfort and cuddles, to assure them that it will be ok!

So as uncomfortable as ear aches are, the approach to treating them is really quite simple, but any questions you might have, be they concerning ear aches or other matters of you babies health, will be gladly answered by your local pharmacist.

Adriana Kaminski