Ear aches are a universal rite of passage for children. Unfortunately, ear infections can be downright painful, and some kids get them more than others.
Thankfully, ear pain is almost never an emergency unless your child has noticeable swelling and redness behind the ear that hurts (this can be a sign of a rare but more urgent condition called mastoiditis, when an ear infection spreads and infects the bones around the ears).
Most ear infections are viral. We can offer to send a "just in case" antibiotic prescription with you if your child has an ear that looks like it could become infected after your appointment, but most ear infections will clear up on their own.
If your child has ear pain for more than a couple days, it's important to have them checked by your doctor to see what is causing the pain.
This symptom guide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you think your child may have a life threatening emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
Our Panic Free Symptom Checker for Kids is written and reviewed by expert physicians and medical professionals. Simply choose a symptom and answer a few questions to find a recommendation for your child’s issue.