Earache is a pretty common condition - especially in children - and although it can be painful, it isn't usually a sign of anything serious.

You may find you have pain in one or both ears and it can be anything from sharp, stabbing pains to a constant dull ache.

Causes of earache:

  • Ear infections
  • A build-up of wax
  • Throat infections
  • Jaw pain
  • Tooth pain
  • Cold weather

You can treat earache at home with painkillers, such as paracetamol or by applying a warm or cold compress to the affected ear. If your pain is severe and lasts longer than a few days, it's best to go and see your GP. They can find the cause and treat it.

Earache in children

Earaches are common in young children. They're often caused by ear infections, but can also be a symptom of a cold.
With older children, who can tell you where the pain is coming from, spotting earache can be fairly easy. If you have a younger child or baby who may not be able to let you know, here are some signs to look out for:

  • Rubbing or pulling their ears
  • They aren't reacting to some sounds
  • Have a temperature of 38C or above
  • Are restless or irritable
  • Aren't eating/off their food
  • Lose their balance more often than usual

If your child doesn't start to feel better after two or three days, you should book an appointment with your GP.


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