Dr. Dean

Why Do My Son's Ears Turn Red?

Posting Date: 10/26/1999

Jane: For years now, my 10-year-old son's ears have been suddenly turning bright red and really hot.

The doctor doesn't know what causes it. For a while, I thought maybe it was sugar, but that doesn't seem to have anything to do with it.

Dr. Dean: No, it's not sugar, and I don't know of any diseases in kids that this signifies. You have nothing to worry about.

Some kids, and adults too, flush at the drop of a hat. Embarrassment, heat, or sexual feelings will bring on a flush.

Our sticking-out body parts are well qualified for their job as regulators of the body's temperature because they have more surface area per volume than do our flat, broad parts.

In cold weather, the blood supply to our hands, feet, noses, and ears is diminished and they get cold. In hot weather, or when we are overheated by exertion or flushing, the blood supply to the extremities increases to aid evaporation. This design protects our vital organs from extremes of cold and heat.

So your child may simply be running around like a madman and bam! the blood is rushing to his ears to help him cool down.