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View Full Version : DS's outer ear is swollen, red, warm to the touch (pics added)


schmamy
07-22-2009, 06:57 AM
What could be wrong?

Yesterday evening I thought his right ear looked a little red, but I didn't think much of it. He slept through the night last night without any problems. But this morning his ear is bright red and swollen, and it feels warm when I touch it. He doesn't seem to be in any pain, but I'm concerned...do I need to go get it checked out? Could it just be a bug bite or something?

:help

Ali
07-22-2009, 07:03 AM
That sounds like an outer ear infection. I have had two of those before. It can become pretty painful. Is he complaining about it hurting? I have always had to go into the doctor for antibiotic drops, but someone else may have a home remedy.

Also, when my DS has an inner ear infection, his outer ear is often red and hot, but never swollen, though.

illinoismommy
07-22-2009, 07:03 AM
Do you have a picture? Is it the ear itself or a swollen lymph node?

schmamy
07-22-2009, 07:32 AM
he isn't verbal enough to be able to tell me that it hurts--but he isn't cranky this morning like he's in pain. it *looks* painful...let me try to take a pic.

---------- Post added at 04:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:04 PM ----------

well, now he is an absolute basket case all of a sudden. I sat him down to give him breakfast and he just screamed hysterically, refused his food. sometimes he's difficult like that but this seemed even worse than normal...trying to get a picture of his ear, you would have thought I was torturing him, he just screamed and screamed (and I wasn't even touching it)...then I tried to give him ibuprofen and he fought me and screamed his brains out. definitely didn't get a full dose. when I took him out of his chair, since he wouldn't eat, he screamed so hard he was shaking...we came back to the computer and now he's sitting quietly in my lap watching videos of his baby cousin (a surefire method for calming him).

times like this make me hate motherhood. :sigh pictures are uploading, I'll post them soon...

---------- Post added at 09:31 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:23 AM ----------

here's the bad ear:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_fdwZkUNylV8/SmchYXtenKI/AAAAAAAAD0g/1CFOZgaUFrY/s400/DSC_5109.JPG

and here's what his normal ear looks like:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_fdwZkUNylV8/SmchYhTg53I/AAAAAAAAD0o/h-0JLEcfM2c/s400/DSC_5110.JPG

---------- Post added at 09:32 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:31 AM ----------

what the heck, why does it just keep adding to my previous posts rather than making new posts and bumping the thread? argh. first time on the new board...

Ali
07-22-2009, 07:48 AM
An outer ear infection makes me nearly scream hysterically, too. It's very painful, even to touch around it. It won't hurt, except feel hot, until you accidently touch it and then ouch ouch ouch!!! That's what it sounds like to me, but I would go check with the doctor. It will hurt to get it examined, but if that's what it is, you can get the meds started. Hugs to your little guy!! I know what that feels like!

illinoismommy
07-22-2009, 08:07 AM
Even thoughit adds to the one post, it does still bump the thread.

Yeah i would take him to the doctor, definitely!

schmamy
07-22-2009, 09:25 AM
:sigh The last thing I want to do today is drag him to the doctor...especially if there is another, more natural way to treat this than abx. Is there something natural we can do?? The last time we went to the dr for something else, he was diagnosed with an ear infection. We got a nice big doctor bill (which we pay b/c we have a high deductible) and didn't even bother to use the abx, but rather opted to treat it naturally (with success).

He has been touching it and it doesn't seem like doing so is what makes him scream. :shrug I touched it a couple of different times earlier this morning and he didn't even flinch. Right now he's screaming his brains out and I'm not at all convinced it's related to the ear. He threw a fit after breakfast ended earlier than he wanted it to and it's been steadily downhill ever since.

We are having an awful, awful morning...please pray for me, mamas. I am determined to be gentle and patient today and not completely lose it...but all kinds of unkind, frustrated thoughts and instincts are running through my head. :-/

---------- Post added at 11:25 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:16 AM ----------

do you think it could just be a bug bite or sting or something? I'm nearly convinced it's not painful. I gave him some Tylenol, after 20 solid minutes of screaming his brains out, since he hadn't gotten a full dose of ibuprofen anyway. But immediately after that, definitely before the Tylenol had time to kick in, he was messing with his ear and sitting calmly, not screaming. Then I touched it and he didn't flinch or make a sound.

he's down for a nap now, thank goodness--hopefully a long one. I was this close to total breakdown...

MomtoJGJ
07-22-2009, 09:35 AM
you could put a 1:1 vinegar/alcohol solution in his ear to see if that helps.

Quietspirit
07-22-2009, 11:05 AM
If it were me and my child, I'd take him to the doctor. It looks like an outer ear infection and those are VERY painful. The pain can come and go. Also, he may be building a tolerance to the pain but it's still infected.

Leslie_JJKs_mom
07-22-2009, 11:16 AM
Is he doing any better?

bliss
07-22-2009, 11:28 AM
Another vote for "outer-ear infection" - I had a bad one in elementary school and remember taking horse pills that smelled like cat pee :sick The pain does come and go, esp. if he's had some pain meds. I understand not wanting to go the doc route - what did you use before successfully?

schmamy
07-22-2009, 12:46 PM
he took a good long nap and has acted fine ever since he got up about 45 minutes ago. no screaming fits, not whiny or clingy. his ear is still red and swollen but it doesn't seem to bother him at all, other than the fact that he occasionally tugs/scratches it.

---------- Post added at 02:46 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:42 PM ----------

Another vote for "outer-ear infection" - I had a bad one in elementary school and remember taking horse pills that smelled like cat pee :sick The pain does come and go, esp. if he's had some pain meds. I understand not wanting to go the doc route - what did you use before successfully?

when he had a traditional ear infection, we used garlic oil drops from the HFS and had two chiro visits. it cleared up on its own without abx. would the garlic oil drops help for an outer ear infection, if indeed that's what it is? honestly, I'm not convinced the ear was ever painful for him--I don't think it's just a matter of pain coming and going. he was acting out of sorts this morning for sure, but he slept *so* well last night, and the telltale sign that he's getting sick is that he has an awful night of sleep the night before he shows any symptoms. and given what I've said about it not seeming to bother hiim at all this morning when I or he touches his ear...it just doesn't seem like it's hurting him. I'm so confused...but so relieved, at least, that he isn't acting like he was this morning. there is no way I could have survived an entire day of that all by myself...

PurpleButterfly
07-22-2009, 12:47 PM
My ds got a bug bite on his ear once that cause the same symptoms. We took him to the ped and found out the bite had turned into a localized staph infection, which can become serious if not treated quickly. We gave him antibiotics for it but it's been years and that ear still gets red and warm every now and then.

If you are hesitant to get him to the doctor, try giving Benedryl first. It will help clue you in if it is an infection or reaction. The warm-to-the-touch is generally a good indication of infection, unfortunately. :hugheart

schmamy
07-22-2009, 12:47 PM
My ds got a bug bite on his ear once that cause the same symptoms. We took him to the ped and found out the bite had turned into a localized staph infection, which can become serious if not treated quickly. We gave him antibiotics for it but it's been years and that ear still gets red and warm every now and then.

If you are hesitant to get him to the doctor, try giving Benedryl first. It will help clue you in if it is an infection or reaction. The warm-to-the-touch is generally a good indication of infection, unfortunately. :hugheart

interesting. Benedryl orally or topically on the ear?

PurpleButterfly
07-22-2009, 12:49 PM
Also, either way, you can give him echinacea and Vita C to boost his immune system and reduce inflammation. I love the Herbs for Kids line and have been using it since my firstborn was 11 months old (it's made for kids 1 and up).

schmamy
07-22-2009, 12:51 PM
no kids' echinacea on hand, but I do have vitamin C which he loves taking.

PurpleButterfly
07-22-2009, 12:53 PM
I never give topical Benedryl because the oral is MUCH more effective and you cannot safely use both. ;) So oral. :yes At a few weeks shy of one year, I would have given my son (about 22 lbs) a 1/2 tsp dose. I always go lower than the recommended, esp. for something they have never had before. But we've always had success with lower than recommended doses of Benedryl, even at 9 years old. :)

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/8/T088800.asp

schmamy
07-22-2009, 12:55 PM
I believe we might have one dose of Benedryl left over from a while back. he's a few weeks shy of 2, not a few weeks shy of one. he's had Benedryl before, though he's not much bigger than your DS was at one!

PurpleButterfly
07-22-2009, 01:37 PM
Wow, I can't believe it's been almost TWO years!!! It seems like you were just pregnant....:heart

My guy was big from the get-go, born at 2 feet long and 10.4 lbs. :phew He's nice and tall and lean now, but was the size of a 3 month old when he was newborn. :phew

Praying for your peace over this and extra patience today, and for healing in that sweet little ear! :hug

cobluegirl
07-22-2009, 03:06 PM
looks like a bug bite to me.... I would put some tto on it and give the benedryl and keep an eye on it. If you suspect ear infection I would use garlic oil...

twomonkeysmama
07-22-2009, 04:47 PM
i hope it is a bug bite. It may well be, but just a caution that if it is an infection (outer ear) they can often be treated topically, but they do risk penetration into the cartilage and mastoid/brain etc.
It's incredibly rare (bad complications), but if you are at all concerned, and especially if there was a fever, I would be inclined for a dr opinion.

Leslie_JJKs_mom
07-22-2009, 09:16 PM
Does he have a fever? How is he doing?

Ima LeShalosh
07-22-2009, 10:50 PM
the fact that he has had no pain at all, I would tend to go bug bite or ingrown hair follicle somewhere. Can you spot an area that appears more swollen, hot or red than the rest of his ear?

schmamy
07-23-2009, 09:42 AM
Well, he took a LONG nap yesterday (which isn't totally unusual, like concerning) and then was a completely different kid when he woke up. praise God. I couldn't have survived an entire day of screaming like yesterday morning.

I gave him oral Benedryl like Kym suggested and I do think it might have made the redness go down. Ever since then, it's not the whole ear that's red. The earlobe and the top of the ear are a normal color and size--it's just an area right in the center that's still red and swollen.

We decided to just take a wait and see approach, and he slept great last night and it doesn't seem to be bothering him at all this morning. He rubs at it occasionally, like possibly it itches or something, but he's clearly not in pain, and he hasn't been running a fever (or at least hasn't felt warm enough to the touch to even prompt me to take his temperature).

I can't see one specific spot that looks like a bug bite, but there are a few little spots on the inside of his outer ear (does that make sense?) that look a little strange--it's hard to describe, and hard for me even to get a close look. I'm going to try the TTO and maybe the vinegar/alcohol, and keep a close eye on it. I really don't think it's an ear infection, because of the lack of pain, and I don't want to drag him to the doctor and pay the bill for them to say there's nothing they can really do. I don't want to overlook something serious...but...I dunno. He does have a history of big ugly reactions to mosquito bites.

:sigh it's hard to know what to do.

PurpleButterfly
07-23-2009, 10:12 AM
My ds also has big allergic reactions to mosquitos bites (not anaphlactic) and what you're describing sounds very similar to what we have seen.

It really could be worth picking up a bottle of Herbs for Kids (or whatever brand you like) Deep Immune Support with echinacea and astragalus (tho if fever is present do not use astragalus). It has made a world of difference for us and helped us avoid the doctor many times over the years. :yes

Keep giving him Vita C, and also try some breastmilk on his ear several times a day. :D

:hug2 :pray :heart

bliss
07-23-2009, 12:16 PM
:hug2I hate that "do I go to the Dr. or not" feeling. Glad it sounds like he's getting better!