Treatments for Insects in the Ear in Children

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

How can I treat this right away?

  • Calm and reassure your child.
  • Do not attempt to remove the insect by poking it with a cotton swab or similar probe. This may push the insect farther into the ear or cause damage to the middle ear and eardrum.
  • Tilt your child's head to the side and gently shake (do not hit) it.
  • If your child has tubes in his/her ears or has a history of ear problems, call your child's physician immediately for further treatment recommendations.
  • If your child does not have tubes or ear problems:
    • If you think the insect is still alive and it does not come out with gentle head shaking, pour a small amount of vegetable or baby oil into the ear canal. This will usually suffocate the insect.
    • If you think the insect is dead and it does not come out with gentle head shaking, pour a small amount of warm water into the ear canal to flush it out.

When should I call my child's physician?

Specific treatment for insects in the ear that require more than minor treatment at home will be determined by your child's physician. In general, call your child's physician:

  • to have the insect removed if it does not come out after shaking or irrigation; insects can cause damage to the inside of the ear by stinging or scratching the eardrum
  • if you are able to remove only parts or pieces of the insect
  • if your child develops signs of infection, such as a fever or foul smell or drainage from the ear
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337