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  • Ear – Injury


    • Injuries to the outer ear, ear canal or eardrum

    Types of Ear Injuries

    • Bruises and scratches of outer ear
    • Blood clot of outer ear
    • Ear canal bleeding due to scratch of ear canal. This can be caused by cotton swab, fingernail, or ear exam.
    • Punctured eardrum due to long-pointed objects. Examples are cotton swabs, pencils, sticks, straws, or wires.

    When to Call Us for Ear – Injury

    Call Us Now (night or day) If:

    • You think your child has a serious injury
    • Bleeding won’t stop after 10 minutes of direct pressure
    • 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
    • Pain is SEVERE and not improved 2 hours after taking pain medicine
    • Age under 1 year old
    • You think your child needs to be seen urgently

    Call Us Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If:

    • You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
    • 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

    Call Us During Weekday Office Hours If:

    • You have other questions or concerns
    • No tetanus shot in over 5 years for DIRTY cuts
    • No tetanus shot in over 10 years for CLEAN cuts

    Parent Care at Home If:

    • Minor ear injury

    Care Advice for Ear – Injury


    • 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.


    • Wash the wound with soap and water for 5 minutes.

    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 Band-Aid. Change daily.

    Pain Medicine:

    • To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.

    What to Expect:

    • Minor ear wounds heal quickly.
    • Most often, cuts and scrapes heal in 2 or 3 days.

    Call Your Doctor If:

    • Pain becomes severe
    • Your child becomes worse

    Disclaimer: This information is not intended 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.

    Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
    Copyright 1994-2013 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

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