Northlake Children's Associates, P.A.

Pediatric Care & Pediatricians located in Mooresville, NC

Earaches are one of the most common reasons why parents bring their child to the doctor. If your child is complaining of ear pain, the experienced team at Northlake Children’s Associates, PA, including Mary-Margaret James, MD, and Majé Goodwin, MD, in Mooresville, North Carolina, can evaluate your child’s ear and provide the most appropriate treatment to ease your child’s pain. Call the office today or book online.

Earache Q & A

What is an earache?

An earache refers to pain in the ear caused by a bacterial infection, which is medically referred to as acute otitis media. Children are very susceptible to earaches because their eustachian tubes are smaller, which makes it harder for fluid to drain and easier for bacteria to grow.

An earache is usually caused by a bacterial infection after your child has had either a sore throat or cold. Even though a cold is a viral infection, bacteria are drawn to the ear due to the fluid buildup caused by the infection.

What are the symptoms of an earache?

If your child is old enough, they will tell you when their ear hurts. However, earaches can occur at any age, and if your child can’t verbally express how they feel, you need to be on the lookout for other symptoms, such as:

  • Fever
  • Tugging or pulling on the ear
  • Fluid draining from the ear
  • Difficulty sleeping

Your child may also seem more fussy than usual. An earache can also affect your child’s sense of balance.

How are earaches treated?

The pediatric specialists at Northlake Children’s Associates conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine if your child’s earache is due to an infection. Using an otoscope, a medical tool used specifically to look in the ear, your pediatrician evaluates your child’s ear. If it’s red and bulging, your child has an infection.

Because earaches are caused by bacteria, your specialist prescribes an antibiotic to clear up the infection. Your child should start to feel better within a few days of starting treatment. However, it’s important that you continue to give your child the antibiotic as directed by your pediatrician to ensure a full recovery.

What can I do to prevent my child from getting earaches?

You may not be able to fully prevent your child from getting an earache, however taking certain steps may help reduce the number of earaches your child gets a year. The team at Northlake Children’s Associates recommend:

  • Updating your child’s flu vaccine every year
  • Making regular hand-washing part of everyone’s routine
  • Limiting your child’s exposure to sick children, if possible
  • Not letting your baby sleep with a bottle


If your child’s earaches are a chronic problem that doesn’t seem to improve with antibiotics, your Northlake Children’s Associates doctor may recommend surgical placement of a tube to assist in the drainage of the fluid.

Earaches in children are common and should be evaluated. For an appointment, call Northlake Children’s Associates or book an appointment online.