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225D Millburn Ave
Suite 301
Millburn, NJ 07041
973-376-PEDS (7337)
Fax: 973-218-6647
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346 South Avenue
Suite 3
Fanwood, NJ 07023
908-889-TOTS (8687)
Fax: 908-889-0047
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76 Stirling Road
Suite 201
Warren, NJ 07059
908-755-KIDS (5437)
Fax: 908-755-6905
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Is Your Child Sick? TM


Ear - Injury

Is this your child's symptom?

  • Injuries to the outer ear, ear canal or eardrum

Types of Ear Injuries

  • Cut or Scratch. Most cuts of the outer ear do not need sutures.
  • Bruise. Most bruises of the outer ear just leave a purple mark. They heal on their own.
  • Blood Clot Serious. Most of the outer ear is made of cartilage. A large blood clot hematoma can cut off the blood supply to the cartilage. It needs to be drained. If not, the ear may become deformed boxer's ear.
  • Ear Canal Bleeding. Most are due to a scratch of ear canal. This can be caused by cotton swab, fingernail, or ear exam. Most stop bleeding on their own. Persistent bleeding needs to be seen.
  • Punctured Eardrum. Most are due to long-pointed objects put in the ear canal. Examples are cotton swabs, pencils, sticks, straws, or wires.
  • Loss of Hearing Serious. Caused by blunt trauma, such as a slap to the ear. Also, caused by explosions.

When to Call for Ear - Injury

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
  • Upper part of the ear is very swollen
  • Pointed object was put into the ear canal
  • Clear fluid is draining from the ear canal
  • Walking is not steady
  • Severe pain and not improved 2 hours after taking pain medicine
  • Age under 1 year old
  • You think your child has a serious injury
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Few drops of blood in the ear canal. Caused by a minor injury, cotton swab Q-tip or ear exam.
  • Injury causes an earache or crying lasts more than 30 minutes
  • Hearing is less on injured side
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Dirty cut and no tetanus shot in over 5 years
  • Clean cut and no tetanus shot in over 10 years
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Minor ear injury

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
  • Upper part of the ear is very swollen
  • Pointed object was put into the ear canal
  • Clear fluid is draining from the ear canal
  • Walking is not steady
  • Severe pain and not improved 2 hours after taking pain medicine
  • Age under 1 year old
  • You think your child has a serious injury
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Few drops of blood in the ear canal. Caused by a minor injury, cotton swab Q-tip or ear exam.
  • Injury causes an earache or crying lasts more than 30 minutes
  • Hearing is less on injured side
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Dirty cut and no tetanus shot in over 5 years
  • Clean cut and no tetanus shot in over 10 years
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Minor ear injury

Care Advice for Minor Ear Injuries

  1. Bleeding - How To Stop:
    • For any bleeding, put direct pressure on the wound.
    • Use a gauze pad or clean cloth.
    • Press for 10 minutes or until the bleeding has stopped.
  2. Clean the Wound:
    • Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes.
  3. Antibiotic Ointment:
    • For cuts and scrapes, use an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin. No prescription is needed.
    • Put it on the cut 3 times a day.
    • Do this for 3 days.
    • Cover large scrapes with a bandage such as Band-Aid. Change daily.
  4. Pain Medicine:
    • To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product such as Tylenol.
    • Another choice is an ibuprofen product such as Advil.
    • Use as needed.
  5. What to Expect:
    • Minor ear wounds heal quickly.
    • Most often, cuts and scrapes heal in 2 or 3 days.
  6. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Pain gets severe
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Copyright 1994-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.