Injuries to the outer ear, ear canal or eardrum
Types of ear injuries include the following:
- Bruises and scratches of outer ear
- Blood clot (hematoma) of outer ear
- Ear canal bleeding due to scratch of ear canal (caused by cotton swab, fingernail, or medical ear exam)
- Punctured eardrum due to long-pointed objects (e.g. caused by cotton swabs, pencils, sticks, straws, wires)
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- You think your child has a serious injury
- Bleeding that won’t stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
- Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
- Outer ear is very swollen
- Pointed object was inserted into the ear canal (e.g. a pencil, stick, or wire)
- Clear fluid is draining from the ear canal
- Walking is unsteady
- Severe pain
- Age < 1 year old
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 and 4) If
- You think your child needs to be seen
- Injury caused an earache that persists
- Hearing is decreased on injured side
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
Parent Care at Home If
- Mild ear injury and you don’t think your child needs to be seen
Home Care Advice for Mild Cuts, Scrapes, or Swelling
- Bleeding: Apply direct pressure for 10 minutes with a sterile gauze to stop any bleeding.
- Cleansing: Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes.
- Antibiotic Ointment: Apply an antibiotic ointment to any cuts or scrapes. Cover large scrapes with a Band-Aid. Change daily.
- Pain Medicine: Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen as necessary for pain relief.
- Expected Course: Minor ear injuries heal quickly, usually in 2 or 3 days.
- Call Your Doctor If
- Pain becomes severe
- Your child becomes worse or develops any of the “Call Your Doctor” symptoms