Earaches and Ear Infections

Earaches and Antibiotics

Dear Dr. Greene, My name is Sharine, and our 5 year old son seems to get alot of ear infections. I’m just wondering if you can tell me in plain English, not in medical terms that no one else can understand; what’s the difference between an ear infection, to an ear ache??? And what causes both of them? Please let me know as follows; and thank-you very much!!!

A: Earaches and ear infections overlap each other, but are not identical. This often causes confusion. A child can have an ear ache either from an ear infection (otitis media) or swimmers ear (otitis externa). On the other hand, not all ear infections (otitis media) cause earaches. Every earache deserves attention, but not all earaches benefit from antibiotics.

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Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

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