Ear infection: First aid

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Children, often between the ages of 6 months to 2 years are susceptible to suffering from ear infections that are often transient and go away on their own. If your child is suffering from a mild form of the infection, the following first aid tips will help you alleviate the symptoms of the condition. If your child is under 2 years old or is suffering from a more severe infection, you may have to consult your doctor. If adults are suffering from this condition, they need to seek prompt medical attention and undergo diagnostic tests—whether mild or severe.

1. Mild ear infections can be treated by parents at home. Call a doctor if:

  • Your child is under 6 months old and is suffering from an ear infection.
    Ear infection
    Ear infection
  • Your child exhibits symptoms of ear infections, accompanied with a fever of 102 F or more, severe pain, frequent and inconsolable crying or other behavioural or physical problems.
  • The drainage from the ear is visible to you—as if it is sticking out of the ear.

2. Use pain relievers for children

  • Make sure you consult your paediatrician before you administer any over the counter pain relievers, if it’s your first time.
  • You may give children’s formula ibuprofen or acetaminophen but make sure you follow the dosage instructions given on the bottle.
  • Do NOT give your child aspirin if he/she is under 16 years of age.

3. Soothe the ear by placing a warm washcloth on the ear.
4. You may use pain relieving ear drops to alleviate pain

  • Again, you must consult your paediatrician and ask if they will be helpful for your child.
  • Do NOT use ear drops without consulting your paediatrician.

5. Continue care

  • If you notice that the symptoms are aggravating, call your doctor immediately as your child may require further treatment.


The best treatment is to prevent the infection from taking place. The following self-help tips will allow you to reduce the risk of incurring the infection:

  • Your child’s immune system is very weak; therefore, breastfeed your child for 6 months if possible as breast milk contains many antibodies that combat many infections. If you are bottle-feeding your baby, make sure he is held upright as lying down while drinking milk increases the chances of infection.
  • Make sure your child washes his hands thoroughly, regularly and also make sure your child does not share his drinking or eating utensils with others. Additionally. You must limit your child’s time at day care centers as group care centers often expose the child to numerous infections. Consider a daycare center with fewer children, if necessary.
  • Avoid passive smoking by making sure that if anyone smokes in your household, he smokes outside, away from your children and other members of the family as passive smoking not only contributes to ear infections but many other ailments as well.
  • Consult your doctor and ask him about what vaccinations will be helpful for your child in keeping away diseases. Consider pneumococcal vaccines and seasonal flu shots to prevent infections such as ear infections.

Additional Training

To learn about other severe emergency scenario’s and condition enrol into workplace approved first aid training with a training partner near you.

Related Video to Ear Infections

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