Ear infection

An ear infection affects the middle ear. The inflammation is usually caused by a virus, but can also be caused by bacteria. An ear infection is a very common and harmless disease. It usually lasts a couple of days.It is treated with painkillers and perhaps antibiotics.

An ear infection affects the middle ear. The inflammation is usually caused by a virus, but can also be caused by bacteria. An ear infection is a very common and harmless disease. It usually lasts a couple of days.

Picture of a child holding his hands by his ears.

Treatment

Painkillers

Liquid paracetamol or suppositories 4-6 times a day for 2-3 days. Your doctor will calculate the correct dose. Ear pain is often worse when the child is lying down. You can provide relief by raising the child’s upper body when sleeping, in a baby buggy for instance, or by using books under the bed legs or a pillow under the mattress.

Antibiotics

Your doctor will decide whether your child needs antibiotics.

Follow-up

If the symptoms do not improve after 2 days, consult your doctor or an ENT specialist. Book an appointment with your doctor or ENT specialist after 2 weeks if there has been any discharge from the ear, or after 8 weeks if there has been no discharge, to check for fluids in the middle ear.

Danger signals

  • If your child is noticeably listless or irritable
  • If redness and soreness develops around the bony protuberance behind the ear, perhaps with the ear sticking out.

Advice on prevention of ear infections

Avoid smoking and follow the child vaccination programme.

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