Runny ear with blood in children: middle ear infection

Your child grabs an ear and says it hurts. In addition, it may appear as if fluid is draining from the ear in combination with some blood. In that case, it is a runny ear caused by a middle ear infection. The child will often have had ear pain before this. What kind of condition is this and why should extra attention be paid to runny ear in children?

Running ear with blood

  • Symptoms of middle ear infection
  • Virus infection via Eustachian tube
  • Difference with inflamed ear canal
  • Drip warm salad oil for severe pain
  • Use of paracetamol
  • Running ear with blood
  • Repeated complaints
  • What if it continues?


Symptoms of middle ear infection

A painful sensation in the ear that may be accompanied by an increase in the child’s temperature can be a sign of middle ear infection. Moisture is poorly or not drained at all, causing it to increase in quantity. The pressure in the ear can become so great that the eardrum ruptures. This may temporarily lead to an increase in pain, after which water and blood may drain from the ear. If the child has had a runny ear, the pain will quickly decrease until it is no longer bothersome.

Virus infection via Eustachian tube

The Eustachian tube is an open connection to the nose, so that fluid can be drained. An infection can also enter the ear this way. If the child has a cold, the virus can enter the ear through the opening and closing connection, causing the drain to become blocked and the pressure in the ear to increase. The entire space of the middle ear can become filled with fluid and become infected, causing acute pain. It is therefore necessary to reduce the infection and drain the fluid.

Difference with inflamed ear canal

The child’s ear canal may become inflamed. An infection has then manifested itself on the outside, causing swelling. The infection may have started to grow due to a lack of earwax, affecting the ear canal skin. Because this infection does not occur internally, there is less danger to the child. The inflammation will decrease in a few days with the use of acidic ear drops. Be informed by the treating ENT doctor.

Drip warm salad oil for severe pain

If the child has ear pain and the eardrum is still intact, what can be done? In that case, pain can be reduced before going to sleep by dropping a drop of warm salad oil into the ear. It ensures that the tension on the membrane decreases by providing some counter pressure. The ear will also feel less irritated. Please note that you may only do this if there has not yet been a runny ear. A ruptured eardrum means an opening to the outside, through which infections can easily enter. So be careful!

Use of paracetamol

Paracetamol has excellent pain relieving properties for both adults and children. Read the package leaflet in advance to find out what amount you can use. Normally half a pill will be more than enough to help the child fall asleep painlessly.

Running ear with blood

As soon as fluid drains from the ear in combination with some blood, the eardrum is ruptured. It means that fluid drains from the middle ear so that the condition can recover. In this case, an opening to the outside world has been forced and so as a parent you have to be careful. Visit your GP for additional advice. The eardrum will usually repair itself, so that hearing works optimally again. Naturally, this recovery takes some time and so the ENT or GP should pay attention to it.

Repeated complaints

If the child regularly has ear complaints, the use of eardrum tubes may be considered. A connection is made from the ear canal to the middle ear, so that the pressure can drain normally. Because there is a passage, extra attention must be paid to preventing further infections. If the Eustachian tube is regularly blocked, a nasal spray can provide a solution.

What if it continues?

Please note that if the child has not recovered after three days, something else may be going on. The infection may have affected other parts of the body, causing fever and nausea to persist. Then go back to the treating doctor for additional assessment and treatment. In adults, a middle ear infection normally subsides after three days, so that everything recovers normally. If it lasts longer, go to the ENT doctor to be sure.

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