My 3 Year Old Son Has a Big Red Swollen Ear!

Updated on July 06, 2011
M.H. asks from Flower Mound, TX
8 answers

Hi Moms,

Just this morning, I noticed that my 3 y/o son's right ear is all big, red, puffy and swollen! It took me by surprise because I can't imagine what could have happened. He is not in any pain. Could it be a bug bite? I was going to give him some Benedryl, but the directions say not to give to children under 4, so I didn't give him any. My friends (and a pharmacist) told me just to keep an eye on it. Does anyone have any other suggestions? Thank you.

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answers from Dallas on

they make baby Benadryl. You can also put topical cortizone on it. My son used to have reactions like that to bug bites. Once, he was bitten on the ear and it looked like a big pork chop hanging off the side of his face! Didn't even resemble an ear anymore. One does of benadryl and he was right as rain.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Sounds like a bugbite. My 2 year olds whole hand or foot swells up with one bite. I give him Benadryl - just call your doc for the dosage. If you don't want to give Benadryl buy the topical cream and try that.

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answers from Bloomington on

Possible infection/something stuck in it? That's my only thought, but if it gets worse or doesn't get better in a day or two, I'd get it checked out.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

PLEASE call your pediatrician's nurse. It makes me SO MAD when non medical people on this site give THEIR version of pharmacology advice. You'd be NUTS to take that kind of a chance. Please call. Set your mind at ease and call a REAL health professional!

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answers from Washington DC on

this happened to my son when he was 7 - woke up with a red and swollen ear...we had a cub scout function to go the morning progressed it got more swollen - to the point where it was BAD (like a cauliflower on the side of his head) we took him to the urgent care - the dr came in to see him - was going to give him Benedryl - she walked out to get it and my son said "mommy my tongue itches" and sounded a tad funny - ran (yes ran) to the dr told her they came back with an epi pen...he was fine within 30 seconds and was monitored for 2 hours..

we don't know what bit him - had allergy tests run afterwards but couldn't find anything he was allergic to...

if it continues to get red and swollen, take him in.

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answers from Austin on

Sounds like a spider bite, but call the doctor just to make sure the Benedryl is enough..

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answers from Hartford on

Since it's so localized chances are it's an insect sting/bite. I know you spoke to a pharmacist, but pharmacists specialize in medications and interactions. They really can't recommend medical advice.

What you should do is examine his ear and see if you can find an injection site from a stinger. Get a pen and mark the outline of the swelling and redness. If it grows then you have to get him seen pronto so that he can have immediate treatment. If you notice increased swelling even without a pen, get him immediate treatment. If the skin on his ear starts to feel hot, that could be a concern as well.

In any case you need to call the pediatrician even if it's after hours to get appropriate advice. He may suggest that you go to the pharmacy and get Children's Benedryl with a proper dosage. Benedryl will not print anywhere or give on their customer line any sort of dosage information for children this young as they don't want the liability, but your pediatrician should have dosage information. He may suggest oral Benedryl (which you can get dye-free) or he may suggest a topical cream antihistamine.

Until you get your doctor's advice, get some ice and wrap it up in a plastic baggie and have your son hold it to his ear. That might reduce the swelling. Especially if he banged his ear on something and didn't tell you.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

my guess is a mosquito bite, keep an eye on it if the swelling doesnt go down by tomorrow call a doctor but don't start with he Benedryl unless something else swells up.

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