When should I call the doctor about otitis media (middle ear infection)?

Call your child's doctor immediately if:

  • Your child develops a stiff neck.
  • You child acts very lethargic (sluggish), responds poorly, or is inconsolable.

Call your child's doctor during office hours if:

  • The fever or pain is not gone after your child is diagnosed with an ear infection.
  • You have any questions or concerns.

Questions to ask your doctor or your child's doctor:

  • Should I give my child or myself medication? If so, for how long and at what times of the day?
  • How should I store the medication? Does it need to be refrigerated?
  • When will my child (or I) start to feel better?
  • Do I need to make a follow-up visit?
  • Should I keep my child home from school or daycare? If so, when can she or he return?
  • Should the child be restricted from any activities? If so, which ones?
  • Are there certain foods or liquids to avoid?
  • Which over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers, do you recommend?
  • Which symptoms should I report?

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/08/2019.


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