14 answers

Ear Infections and Baths

My daughter is 20 month's old and still has her ear infection. We just went to the Dr.'s today and they put her on an antibiotic.
My question is while she has this ear infection is it OK to wash her hair?? I know it sounds stupid but I give her a bath at night before she goes to bed and I wash her hair everyother night and I don't know if she can get water in her ear and with it being at night so close to bedtime is this a bad thing? I dry out her ears but I don't know if that helps? She has fluid in her ears and both are red and infected. I forgot to ask the Doctor this and they are closed so any advice tips would be appreciated. Also is there anything that I can do besides Tylenol at night when she sleeps to give her some extra relief? She woke up last night a few times crying.

Thanks this web site has been such a great help to me I appreciate everyone's advice and strength in heping me realize that I am not alone.

R. J.

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I would get some ear plus or just not wash her hair! I do not wash my childrens hair when they have ear infections I use a wash cloth and wipe it with some water and shampoo then I rince with the wash cloth as well! Good luck

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Hey R., ear infections are no fun.. poor baby (and mommy). At our last appointment I asked the bath question and our ped told us to have the kids lean forward for rinsing rather than have them look up, looking up allows the water to run into the ear - is what he said. Best wishes for a happy holiday, she'll be feeling better in no time.

When my daughter gets an ear infection, I wash her hair in the kitchen sink. She lays on her back on the counter and I use the sprayer. I tell her I use to wash her in the sink when she was a baby, so she thinks it's special. Why risk water in the ear?

I just took by little boy to doctor for an ear infection yesterday. She told us to switch from Tylenol and Motrin to help with the pain.
Ear plugs are good if you must wash her hair, if your quick maybe just some cotton in the ears will help it from getting too wet.
Good luck!

Most ear infections in children that age are in the inner ear not from baths or swimming. The fluid builds up from a runny nose or congestion drainning down the throat. The water from the bath does nothing to hurt the ear infections. Trust me I know, I have 2 daughters with constant ear infections. Now if the infection is swimmers ear then yes but I would bet it isn't.

Hi R. join the club my son is on his 2nd set of tubes and is on 2 different allergy rx's and I pray every night that he out grows these problems, because I will never forget the last time he had an ear infection it lasted a month of crying nothing worked, until finally his ears started to drain and he was able to get his surgery, so anyways the ENT told me to use ear plugs when washing his hair, and they do sell them for kids at wal-mart too if you shop there as much as I do?I hope this helps?

It won't hurt if you don't wash her hair until the infection is gone. You can also do it with a wash cloth. I did this with my first two. Get the wash cloth wet and add a small amount of soap, rub the babies hair with it and then rinse the cloth out and just keep using the wet cloth to rinse the soap out. Should work fine to avoid the water getting in her ear.
Good luck ear infections are no fun for child or parent.

Even when my sons don't have ear infections, I wash their hair with a bath visor. You can get them at Toys R Us for about $6 it comes in a two pack. It's waterproof, so you just put it on, velcro the back and you can wash and rinse without the water ever touching the ears or face. I do it even when they're playing, they don't even know what's happening. I haven't found them anyplace else except Amazon.com Hope that helps!


My son is 11 now, but as a toddler had chronic ear problems. Our pediatrician and the specialists who eventually did the surgeries warned us repeatedly not to allow him to take baths at all, only showers. If baths are a must, I would recommend not allowing your daughter to put her head under the water at all, and only pour clean water from the tap over her head with a cup or something. We were told that bath water alone cam cause infections in children, especially ones who are predisposed to ear troubles.
Hope she feels better soon!

R., my daughter has had her share of ear infections and still swam in the pool. ear infections are mostly inner ear, or so the pedi. said and it wouldn't make it any worse. she cleared up each time just fine.

My son is the reigning king of ear infections... I understand completely! He just had surgery Friday for his 3rd set of tubes. Antibiotics, surgery, and Advil are the story of his life.
With or without tubes, infected or not, it is okay to wash, etc. The only problem with water, etc. is if they are swimming and HAVE TUBES, they cannot be submerged. I don't know if your daughter has tubes or not but, at 20 months, I doubt she's doing much swimming underwater :-) so don't worry about that. The tub may actually make her feel better. My son loves a warm bath when he's miserable like that.
Advil has always worked better, faster, and longer than Tylenol for him. We also have used Hyland's Earache Tablets with a lot of success, and they're all natural so you don't have to worry about them interfering with the antibiotic or anything else.
My son is on, and has constantly been on, antibiotics for ear and sinus infections since he was a baby. He has a lot of problems with digestion and diarrhea because of the antibiotics. If you run into that issue, I'd be happy to let you know what we use for that too.
I hope your little girl starts to feel better soon. Nothing worse than ear infections. My little one has had a lifetime's worth in 3 years!
Good luck.

Hi R.,

My 22 month old gets ear infections frequently and although I am no expert I try to avoid washing his hair until the ear infection is gone because too much fluid in the ear is what causes the ear infection and therefore it would make sense to avoid water in the ear. Please do ask your doctor, but that is just my opinion.

My 19 month old just got over her first ear infection. She was on antibiotics and ear drops in the right ear, due to a perforated right ear drum. I forgot to ask him, too, and went ahead and showered her as usual. At her check up on Friday, I asked, and he said it may be good to be cautious with the perforated eardrum and excess water, but no big deal. The other ear (which only had fluid, no perforations) was fine to get water in it. Hope that helps! If she has a fevor, my doctor recommended alternating tylenol and motrin every three hours. So, tylenol at noon (for example), motrin at 3, tylenol at 6, motrin at 9, and so on... She seems to do well on tylenol, and he said motrin usually works well with ear infections and fever. So sorry!!! :( They are NO fun...

My son's pediatrician explained to me that the bacteria that effects ear to cause an infection actually comes through water getting into his nose, not ears. An inner ear infection is inside the ear, in the sinus cavity. So my son, who was swimming a lot, kept getting water up his nose. Hence, he had ear infections. He also said that three infections a year is average for a child.
So, don't let water go up her nose, as usual, and she should be fine.
I have a two and a half year old, and a nine year old. Hope this helps, K.

I would get some ear plus or just not wash her hair! I do not wash my childrens hair when they have ear infections I use a wash cloth and wipe it with some water and shampoo then I rince with the wash cloth as well! Good luck

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