|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
- You think your child has a serious injury
- Bleeding won't stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
- Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
- Upper part of the ear is very swollen
- Pointed object was put into the ear canal
- Clear fluid is draining from the ear canal
- Walking is not steady
- Pain is SEVERE and not improved 2 hours after taking pain medicine
- Age under 1 year old
- You think your child needs to be seen urgently
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
- You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
- Few drops of blood in the ear canal. Caused by a minor injury, cotton swab (Q-tip) or ear exam.
- Injury causes an earache or crying lasts more than 30 minutes
- Hearing is less on injured side
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
- No tetanus shot in over 5 years for DIRTY cuts
- No tetanus shot in over 10 years for CLEAN cuts
- You have other questions or concerns
|Parent Care at Home If|
Causes & Health Information
Types of Ear Injuries
- Bruises and scratches of outer ear
- Blood clot of outer ear
- Ear canal bleeding due to scratch of ear canal. This can be caused by cotton swab, fingernail, or ear exam.
- Punctured eardrum due to long-pointed objects. Examples are cotton swabs, pencils, sticks, straws, or wires.
CARE ADVICE FOR MINOR EAR INJURIES
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
- For any bleeding, put direct pressure on the wound.
- Use a gauze pad or clean cloth.
- Press for 10 minutes or until the bleeding has stopped.
- Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes.
- Antibiotic Ointment:
- For cuts and scrapes, use an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin. No prescription is needed.
- Put it on the cut 3 times a day.
- Do this for 3 days.
- Cover large scrapes with a Band-Aid. Change daily.
- Pain Medicine:
- To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.
- What to Expect:
- Minor ear wounds heal quickly.
- Most often, cuts and scrapes heal in 2 or 3 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Pain gets severe
- Your child becomes worse
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012
Last Revised: 1/14/2013
Content Set: Child Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.