Infant Ear Infection Pain

Otitis media is the most common illness seen by pediatricians.By age 3, 80% of all children will have had at least one ear infection, and more than 40% of all children will have had 3 or more infections.1

Healthy ear

Healthy ear


Infected ear

Infected ear

Advise parents to look for common symptoms2:

  • Pulling or tugging on the ear
  • Fussiness or increased crying
  • Fluid coming out of the ear
  • Fever

“Watchful waiting” recommended for otitis media in children3,4 

In March 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published an update to clinical practice guidelines for managing acute otitis media. The update extends the recommended approach of watchful waiting for patients as young as 6 months.

Encourage parents to keep an eye on their child’s ears to see if the infection resolves without an antibiotic. Let them know that: 

  • 70% of ear infections get better within a few days
  • Limiting antibiotic use helps ensure medicine works when it’s needed most
  • When antibiotics are used too often, the bacteria they’ve been designed to kill in your body can adapt and grow stronger over time, which makes it harder for the antibiotic to fight
  • Antibiotics can have side effects

Pain from ear infections can be treated with an OTC pain reliever3

To treat the pain associated with ear infections, the AAP and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend use of an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever—like TYLENOL® or MOTRIN®—as stand-alone treatment or in combination with antibiotics.

Ear infections pediatric dosing

Give small ears big relief

With the 2 OTC analgesic brands pediatricians recommend most.*

Infant ear infection downloadable resources

Help parents with medicine safety

Tool to teach daily limits and active ingredients.

*Among over-the-counter analgesics/fever reducers in the US, TYLENOL® is the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand of pain reliever/fever reducer, and MOTRIN® is the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand of ibuprofen.

REFERENCES: 1. Marom T, Tan A, Wilkinson GS, Pierson KS, Freeman JL, Chonmaitree T. Trends in otitis media-related health care utilization in the United States, 2001-2011. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(1):68-75. 2. Ear infection information: when is it an ear infection? Accessed January 17, 2017. 3. Lieberthal AS, Carroll AE, Chonmaitree T, et al. The diagnosis and management of acute otitis media. Pediatrics. 2013;131(3):e964-e999. 4. American Academy of Pediatrics Subcommittee on Management of Acute Otitis Media. Diagnosis and management of acute otitis media. Pediatrics. 2004;113:1451-1465.