4 Year-old Ear Infection

Updated on December 05, 2015
H.L. asks from Washington, DC
12 answers

Hi - My 4 year-old has a cold. He had 103 temp and dry cough yesterday, and just a low-grade fever today along with typical cold symptoms. He's been his usual self otherwise. Same energy level, appetite, and healthy bathroom breaks :) He awoke at midnight tonight of ear pain. He's never complained of ear pain nor had he ever had an ear infection, that we're aware of. It's 1:45am and he's still complaining of ear pain. We just gave him some Motrin. Our dr's office is closed on wknds. Any experiences with ear infections of this sort? Thanks for any help!

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answers from Norfolk on

Put a heating pad on it for pain relief until you can get him to the doctor.
Keep him well hydrated.
Water is best for that - you might take him off milk/dairy for awhile since it can sometimes make mucus worse for some people when they have a cold.
Do not try to 'dry his cold up' with Sudafed - it makes the fluid in his ears sticky - and if it doesn't drain - ear infections / ear aches happen.
Stick with an expectorant - like Robitussin or Mucinex - anything with guaifenesin in it.

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answers from Miami on

Call the ped's office. They will have an answering service. Hopefully there is a ped in your practice on call who can give you the name of and an acute care center and get him in there. He needs antibiotics. Ear pain is miserable, and if his eardrum is bulging, it could burst. I would say, don't wait, but I don't think your little guy will let you...so don't let it get that painful for him.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Can you take him to an urgent care? I hate ear pain and can't imagine going until Monday if there is an urgent care in your area.

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answers from Washington DC on

Please update us. I hope you've been to an urgent care center by now -- as others note, don't wait for the doctor's office to open on Monday; your boy very likely needs a prescription and the sooner he begins meds, the sooner this can begin to heal. Ear infections are fairly common "secondary infections" caused when colds make fluid sit in the ears, but now he possibly needs antibiotics, even if he seems to be acting fine and feeling mostly OK. Don't go by how he acts, or the fact that pain might seem to go away. A kid can carry an ear infection and seem mostly fine when the infection's still present. My own kid has a very high tolerance for pain (her doctor's words) and has had infections that she didn't even feel except for some twinges.

One other thing: After this is done, if you have the option with your insurer or whatever, I'd see if you can find a pediatric practice with weekend hours if there's one reasonably near you. Ours is (wonderfully) open Saturday and Sunday mornings, and we can always reach someone by phone if needed. They've instructed us to go to urgent care when they weren't open themselves. Also, if the adults in the family go to a "family practice" as your regular doctors, that practice might see your son if they're open on the weekend.

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answers from Boston on

Call the doctor's office - you'll get an answering service who will give the message to the on-call physician (either your pediatrician or a cooperating partner). There's either an associated office that is open on Saturdays, or you will get a recommendation of an urgent care center (unless you know of one near you). I don't think you let a child sit in pain for 2 days. Pediatricians know that the odds are good that these problems occur on weekends and holidays (!) - so reach out for help.

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answers from Boston on

Sounds like an ear infection...Take him to an urgent care/walk in clinic instead (an er if you have no other choice) but I wouldn't stick it out until Monday....sometimes ear infections can cause hearing issues particularly if untreated.

hope he feels better

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answers from Washington DC on

both my kids were prone to ear infections (as was i as a child) and i've tried every home remedy in the book. the fact is, if your kid is complaining of ear pain, he needs to get into a doctor ASAP. not that he'll be on the brink of death or anything, but nothing makes an infected ear feel better except antibiotics (or if the eardrum bursts, which is an agony you don't want to put him through although it does bring some relief.)
aren't kids aggravating? why do they always do this on weekends?
get him into urgent care right away.

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answers from Wausau on

When my younger son was little, he got bacterial ear infections fairly frequently and needed an antibiotic. They would almost always come on quickly with the pain going from 0 to 10 in what seemed like an instant. At least twice it happened on an evening or weekend and we had to go to Urgent Care.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Sounds like an ear infection starting. We've had many. My kids have tubes.

I would go in and have it looked at. One time my son's was quite bad and he was in misery. They can get quite bad pretty quickly so keep an eye on it. If he's just complaining it's sore, it's probably not that bad yet. You may or may not have to go on antibiotics. Not all pediatrician's like to give antibiotics - my kids typically always needed them though because ours is did not get better on their own.

For pain, we were advised to alternate between Tylenol and Advil so that the pain relief never wore off. So if you gave Tylenol then you'd give a dose of Advil in between the next dose of Tylenol , never more than the recommended amounts of each per day. But our pediatrician and pharmacist advised that - best to check with your doctor's office. They should at very least have someone on call on weekends for emergencies. I'd give them a call.

My kids with tubes would have stuff ooze out of their ears - that was the tubes working. I'm not sure if stuff is visible without tubes .. but there may be some discharge. We had drops (from the pharmacy, but prescribed by doctor) for that. I would think at very least, if you didn't get antibiotics, you'd want something to treat it. But you'd need a prescription.

Good luck :) I know it can be painful and distressing - best to call.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Take to urgent care in am

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Ear infections can get bad fast. Whenever my daughter gets an ear infection, she will usually start out by saying her ear hurts a little. I know what that means, so I call the dr right away. They always get us in the same day. It's usually a few hours away, but they get us a same day appt. By the time we are on our way to the dr, she is now bawling from the pain. That's how fast it can progress. And when they look in her ear, they say it's pretty badly infected. So the infection was there for awhile before she ever started to feel any pain. Please get him to the dr very soon. Don't let him be in pain all weekend. Good luck and keep us posted!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Google home remedies.

One of them is to blow warm air down the air with a low heat hair dryer.

I take Sudafed. It makes the drainage thinner and helps it go down the "drain" better. The tubes where the drainage goes often is clogged, dried out, and that's why an ear gets infected. The drainage has a few ways to get out of the sinuses, the eyes, the throat, and the ears. If you treat the base issue, getting the drainage thinner and out then you alleviate some of the symptoms.

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