If there’s green gunk or mucus coming out of your baby’s ear, there’s no reason to panic (if it was blood, yes, ER time), but a ruptured eardrum is one possible cause.

There is no cause of green mucus or discharge from a baby’s ear that would justify letting it run its course without a diagnosis and treatment.

There is definitely something wrong if you see green gunk oozing from your baby’s ear. Don’t just wipe it up and forget about it.

“Otorrhea is defined as any type of ear discharge,” says Jacqueline Winkelmann, MD, who’s been a hospital-based pediatrician at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange County, CA, and most recently Chief of Staff at CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital.

“Green mucus or pus from the ear is most likely due to an ear infection,” continues Dr. Winkelmann.

This would need a proper diagnosis followed by a course of antibiotics if caused by bacteria.

The affected area is the middle portion of the ear, and it can also be the target of a viral infection.

Less common than an ear infection from a microbe would be a perforated or ruptured eardrum, says Dr. Winkelmann.

Other Causes of Green Gunk,
Pus or Mucus from a Baby’s Ear

Dr. Winkelmann says, “Foreign objects can be inserted intentionally (like a Q-tip) or accidentally in a baby (usually by an older sibling) and can rupture the eardrum.

“Mastoiditis — severe ear infection causing damage to the mastoid bone.”

No matter how you slice it, a green goop or discharge from a baby’s ear means an appointment with a pediatrician.

It is not a sign of cancer or brain injury, but the fix requires medical intervention.

More About Dr. Winkelmann
Dr. Winkelmann, known as Doctor Jacq, has a special interest in sports nutrition for young athletes, teen issues and the opioid epidemic, and baby and infant product consulting. She is an award-winning pediatrician, national and international speaker and published author. Her website is doctorjacq.com.