Fluid in Ears - Not Infected

Updated on January 14, 2011
C.H. asks from Portland, OR
15 answers

My nearly 1 year old son has had ear pain for quite a while. He had an infection, which we treated with antibiotics, but while the infection cleared up, the fluid never went away. I've used homeopathic ear drops and ibuprofen to treat his pain, but neither seems to be working. In the past week, he's had several middle-of-the-night screaming episodes, which may be mostly related to ear pain. I just read another mom's question on here, and all the answers. I understand that a lot of people are recommending a chiropractor, which I'm not open to, so I'm requesting to leave that out of your suggestions, but I'm open to pretty much anything else. Tonight, using the suggestions I read on another thread, I mixed his homeopathic drops with some vinegar and rubbing alcohol. I put those in and he smells awful now and isn't acting like it removed any of his pain. Now he's digging in his ear a lot more. What other suggestions do you guys have? Someone on the other mom's question mentioned Dimetapp...I didn't realize he was old enough for that. Does anyone have any positive experience with that? He does have quite a lot of congestion.

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answers from Eugene on

Tape garlic to the inside of his ears, not in the ear canal overnight. I often did that with my children and it worked.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

C. - As another mom said, the Eustachian tubes are too horizontal at this point of development. Medications will affect your child's whole body, but not the structure of his ear. The problem is that the fluid is trapped, and causing him pain. Rather than treating the symptoms, you need to get that fluid out of the middle ear. You need to rub your finger from the hollow just under his ear lobe all along his jawline down to his chin, as that is where the tube is and drains downward. Do this every hour. Second, if you are open to surgically altering his body, why wouldn't you first have him see a chiropractor who has been trained to gently put his little spine and jaw back into alignment with no pain?? I know you asked for no info about Chiro's, but your unwillingness to even consult with one to see what he would do to help your son will result in a lot more pain, cost, and future struggles with tubes. (You can't go swimming with tubes without a complete wax seal to keep the chlorine out.)

My husband and I were both plagued by ear infections as children and just assumed our 4 girls would be, also, but they have had a total of 1 ear infection, and I firmly believe that is because of being regularly adjusted.

I hope your son's ears clear up soon.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Please see an ENT, fluid in his ears caused serious speech delays in my son and caused him to be impolitely removed from a few day cares because we did not KNOW his hearing was never consistant. Have you eever gone swimming and tried to talk to someone under water ... that is what his hearing is like the majority of the time if there is still fluid hanging out. Please, please, please get a referral if you need one for your insurance from your pedi or find one yourself and get your baby in there.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Ear drops are unlikely to help. The fluid is trapped in the middle ear...on the other side of the ear drum. If the fluid stays trapped, it will turn into another infection.

As a veteran of chronic ear infections (my daughter had two sets of tubes by three), i'd ask your doctor to prescribe an appropriate dosage for Mucinex. If that doesn't work then I would ask about an antihistamine which can help dry the fluid.

Children that age have a short, horizontal, restricted Eustachian tube which can interfere with normal drainage. Though we've had a lot of success with Mucinex, I wouldn't rule out the potential relief of chiropractic adjustments.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Head back to your medical professional.

Mixing and matching what you're putting in his ears might be part of the problem. There might be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

You didn't say why you're not open to a chiropractor, but that might be a conversation to have with your care provider while you're there.



answers from Seattle on

First, contact your doctor again and describe what your son is going through. The infection could be back again. Follow his directions. When I was snowed in one day and couldn't get to the doc's, my MIL told me to heat a towel and lay my son's (bad ear down) head on it. That would ease the pain--but not cure it. Call your doctor.



answers from Philadelphia on

hi my two younger kids had fluid in both their ears for over a year probably close to a year and half. every single time i took either of them to their PED the dr would say "well i see fluid on the ears but i am not concerned" so since he was not concerned i was not concerned. after a couple a months of this i started to think my 4 yr old at the was not hearing so well. we took both the kids to a ear,nose, and throat dr. he looked at both ears on both kids and said that fluid is not a good thing. he did a hearing test and said their heaing was comprised by 25%. in a short time from then we scheduled tubes to be put in their ears..3 of the ears never have any problem. my son one ear gets boogies in it when he has a cold.


answers from Los Angeles on

You can talk to your doctor about trying out some Zyrtec or benadryl. My son always had fluid in his ears after an ear infection, sometimes it would last 4-6 weeks. His doctor recommended Zyrtec at night to help dry up some of the fluid. But I would talk to your doc first before you try it. Good Luck!



answers from Seattle on

My kids, age 4 and 7 both have had mild (temporary-I hope) hearing loss from fluid in the ear. My 4 year old daughter is a very loud girl and my son used to say "What did you say?" about 10 times per day. My son had a bad ear infection at 9 months but none since. My daughter has never had an ear infection that we know of. Our doctor has us start them on zyrtec and objectively my son's hearing loss is gone - he had a hearing test before the zyrtec started and again 2 months after. Subjectively both of them are better. You should ask your doctor if zyrtec is a possibility for your 1 year old and what dose to give. We haven't noticed any behavioral changes since we started it. I, too, just can not do a chiropractor for myself or my children. I have used a naturopathic doctor before though. I think that could be a possibility. Good luck. You are the perfect parent for your children.



answers from Portland on

Someone mentioned taping garlic in the ear overnight, but if you go to the health/organic section of a store or a health food store, look for Mullien-Garlic drops. Any time my children start complaining of ear pain, I start using these drops. The Mullien-Garlic drops will dry up the fluid in the ear. It works wonders and they don't get the infections, I head it off at the pass.

I would also get a referral to an ENT to get a second opinion.



answers from Madison on

Tubes are wonderful. My son had recurring ear infections/fliud for the first nine months of his life. Once he got the tubes he was like a new child, so happy and hardly ever sick. For children like this it is normally the anatomy of the ear that is not letting the fluid drain, which is why the tubes work so well. My twins are now 5 months and are going down the same road - I have already asked my ped for the referral to the ENT, and we will be getting tubes for them by 7-8 months. At 12 month olds I wouldn't give my kids Benedryl or Dimetapp - ask your doctor before you do anything like that. Good luck.



answers from Wichita on

Have you seen an ear specialist? You dont want to mess around if he's having prolonged pain, he could end up with hearing loss. Our daughter had ear infection after ear infection when she was a baby, finally at a year we saw a specialist and had tubes put in, he said if she got any more infections she could have permanent hearing loss, and since I have hearing problems, I didnt want to risk it. She's almost 4 now and hasnt had any problems since.



answers from Portland on

you are against chiropractic care for your son but what about seeing an acupuncturist? they actually have non-needle techniques for kids. my kids have never had ear infections (thank goodness) so i can't say from experience, but that is what i've heard.



answers from Joplin on

sweet oil in the ear and place cotton ball leave for time,may have to do it more than once a pharmacist told my mom of this and I tried it on my son it worked for him.


sweet oil in the ear and place cotton ball leave for time,may have to do it more than once a pharmacist told my mom of this and I tried it on my son it worked for him.



answers from Jackson on

My daughter had a time with ear infections. The fluid remaining in the middle ear is more of a problem than the infections. There is an EarCheck that you can purchase to use at home that measures the amount of fluid in the ear. I refused to have tubes put in my daughter's ears because I didn't feel they would solve her problem. She has allergies like my husband. She would get a clear runny nose and two days later she'd have an ear infection. If I can keep her nose dry, I can keep her ears clear. We tried all the allergy meds - Claritin, Zyrtec, Singulair - with no help. Dimetapp has always worked well for her, but you can't give regularly until the child is over two because it is a decongestant.

We were in afterhours with a different doctor one day, and I told him about her allergy nose leading to ear infections and that none of the allergy meds worked for her. He said to give her otc Zyrtec in the mornings and rx Singulair at night. I told him that sounded like drugging her, but he said no, they are two different meds that work well together. We've been doing this for over two years, and I don't think I've hardly wiped that kid's nose since! If we miss a dose or two of either, she'll get a sniffly and I'll give her a dose or two of Dimetapp for a day or two. She hasn't had anymore ear infections and she just doesn't get sick anymore. I also had my husband to start doing both meds, and he's had good results too.

Editted to add - If the fluid remains in your child's ears for long, it will turn to a glue or toothpaste consistency and will not clear up on its own. The doctors call it ear glue. It will affect his hearing and a friend has had to have reconstructive work done on the bones in her ear that are responsible for hearing because of long-term infections as a baby/toddler. The eustachian tube that drains the fluid from the ear normally, opens when we yawn or swallow. During an ear infection, I would sit my daughter up as straight as possible when she took nursed, prop one end of the crib up a little when she slept or sleep with her sitting against me while I sat upright in the recliner, not let her cry lying down, and be trilled to see her yawn while sitting upright. I know - I made myself crazy with these little things! I also paid very close attention to her talking and vocabulary - kept a notebook of every new word - so I could watch for any affect on her hearing and speech.

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