Springdale Mason Pediatrics

Ear Injury

Definition

  • Injuries to the outer ear, ear canal or eardrum

Call or Return If

  • Pain becomes severe
  • Wound looks infected
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse

About This Topic

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.
  • Cotton swabs cause over 10,000 ear injuries each year in the US. Over 2,000 are punctured eardrums.

Symptoms

  • The main symptom is pain.

Prevention

  • Careful adult supervision of young children
  • Never let young children put Q-tips in their ears
  • Education of older children about high risk behaviors

After Care Advice

Bleeding:
  • 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.
Cleansing:
  • 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.
What to Expect:
  • Minor ear wounds heal quickly.
  • Most often, cuts and scrapes heal in 2 or 3 days.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2020 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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