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Ear Discomfort in Children

Ear discomfort is a common complaint reported by children during allergy season. Children may report a stuffy or plugged up feeling in the ear, crackling or popping noises or muffled hearing. Complaints of this type, without pain, are usually caused by ear congestion. Causes of Ear Congestion
Common Cold. A viral infection of the nose is the most common cause. The nasal congestion also blocks the ear tube (eustachian tube). The ear tube normally keeps air in the middle ear.
Ear Infection. Middle ear pus can also cause muffled hearing on that side. This commonly happens with an ear infection.
Middle Ear Fluid. Fluid may remain in the middle ear after the infection is cleared up. It can last for months. The main symptoms are popping and crackling noises in the ear.
Blowing the Nose. Blowing too hard can force secretions into the ear tube.
Allergic Rhinitis. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollens. It causes nasal congestion, clear drainage and sneezing. It also can block the ear tube and back up secretions in the ear.


Care Advice ? What You Should Know About Ear Congestion: ? Most often, this is from a blocked ear tube (eustachian tube). This tube normally drains the space behind the eardrum.

It is usually not caused by an ear infection.
Here is some care advice that should help.
Swallow and Chew More:
Swallow water or other fluid while the nose is pinched closed. Reason: Makes a vacuum in the nose that helps the ear tube open up.
After age 6, can also use chewing gum.
Check with your doctor to determine if a decongestant nasal spray (such as Afrin) or oral decongestant (such as Sudafed) are recommended.

Allergy Medicines:
Nose allergies can cause ear stuffiness.
If your child has hay fever or other allergies, give an allergy medicine.

What to Expect:
The symptoms most often clear within 2 days (48 hours) with treatment. Call Your Doctor If: ? Ear pain occurs
Ear congestion lasts more than 48 hours ? You think your child needs to be seen ? Your child becomes worse

Susan Quigley, RN, NCSN

May 2018 Tiger Times