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Earache in children is a common condition. However, this condition is often not realized by parents because children, especially infants and toddlers, have not been able to explain the complaints they feel. Therefore, mothers need to know what types of earaches in children and their symptoms are
Earache in children can be caused by an underdeveloped eustachian tube. This condition makes children more at risk of developing ear pain due to fluid buildup in the ear.
In addition, earache in children can also occur because the child's immune system is not functioning optimally, so that the body is susceptible to infections, including ear infections that make their ears hurt.
Symptoms of Earache in Children
When the child is old enough, they can explain the pain they are experiencing and which part of the ear hurts. However, in infants and toddlers who cannot speak well, they will look fussy or cry more often because of pain in their ears.
Earache in children can also be recognized from the following signs and symptoms:
- Often pulling, scratching, or touching the ear
- Ear looks swollen and red
- fluid coming out of the ear
- Sudden difficulty sitting or standing up
- Hard hearing or not responding when called
- Difficulty sleeping
- Ear smells bad
- Not wanting to eat, drink, or breastfeed
When your little one experiences some of the symptoms above, especially if the symptoms persist for days and don't improve, immediately take him to the doctor for an examination and get the right treatment.
Types of Earache in Children
The following are some of the most common types of earache in children:
This condition, also known as otitis externa, is a condition when the earlobe and ear canal are swollen and painful due to inflammation. Ear pain in children due to otitis externa can occur due to:
- The habit of swimming, so that water enters the child's ear and causes irritation
- Ear stuffed with foreign object
- The habit of picking your ears or using earphones too often
- bacterial or fungal infection
- Skin diseases, such as eczema
- earwax buildup
If it is severe, external ear pain can make the child's ear become swollen and red, and make the child feel very sick.
Middle ear pain
Middle ear pain (otitis media) can be caused by various things, one of which is a viral or bacterial infection. Otitis media is quite common in infants and toddlers aged 6–24 months, especially those who are not breastfed or frequently breastfed in a lying position.
Middle ear pain in children can also be caused by a ruptured eardrum. This condition can be caused by a foreign object entering the ear, loud noises, and head or ear injuries.
A ruptured eardrum can cause a child to experience dizziness or vertigo, hearing loss, ringing in the ears, and discharge or pus from the ear.
If not treated immediately, middle ear pain can spread to other areas to cause mastoiditis, which is an infection of the mastoid bone located behind the ear, even causing infection of the lining of the brain (meningitis) which can be fatal.
Inner ear pain (otitis interna) is rarely experienced by children. This disease can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the ear or otitis media that is not treated immediately.
Examples of inner ear pain are labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis. Labyrinthitis is inflammation of the fluid-filled canal in the inner ear, while vestibular neuritis is inflammation of the vestibular nerve, which is the nerve in the inner ear that sends messages to the brain.
Inner ear pain can cause children to experience vertigo, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), vomiting, and hearing loss.
Treating Earache in Children
Earaches in children generally get better on their own. However, it is still recommended that you take your child to the doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
After examining the child's sick ear, the doctor will provide treatment according to the child's age and he alth condition, as well as the symptoms and severity of the earache experienced by the child. Handling earache in children can be in the form of:
The doctor may prescribe ear drops that contain antibiotics to kill bacteria and corticosteroid ear drops to relieve inflammation of the ear.
In addition, doctors can also prescribe painkillers and fever reducers, such as paracetamol, to treat pain and fever that a child experiences when he has an earache.
If medication doesn't work for your child's earache, the doctor will recommend surgery, such as myringotomy or eardrum surgery, to remove fluid in the eardrum and relieve swelling and inflammation in the child's ear.
Surgery is also generally recommended for children who have frequent ear infections, suffer from hearing loss, or are speech-delayed.
In the case of a ruptured eardrum, the doctor can patch or close the hole with a patch or perform a tympanoplasty operation.
To prevent earache in children in the future, do the following ways:
- Give the child exclusive breastfeeding.
- Carry the child so that his head is higher than his body when breastfeeding.
- Keep children away from cigarette smoke or avoid smoking near children.
- Avoid giving your child a pacifier too often.
- Invite children to wash their hands often.
- Supervise the child when playing so that he does not put foreign objects or toys into his ears.
- Make sure your child is fully immunized, including the pneumococcal vaccine (PCV).
Earache in children can sometimes heal by itself. If the child looks calm and not fussy, this indicates that the earache has improved.
However, take your child to the doctor immediately if the earache symptoms do not improve after a few days, the child appears very sick, has a fever, or discharges fluid, pus, or blood from the ear.