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Should I See A Doctor For An Ear Infection

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What Are Other Causes Of Ear Pain

EAR INFECTION or Otitis Media | Should You See a Doctor?

Other causes of ear pain include:

  • A sore throat.
  • Teeth coming in in a baby.
  • An infection of the lining of the ear canal. This is also called swimmers ear.
  • Pressure build up in the middle ear caused by allergies and colds.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/16/2020.


You Experience Added Symptoms

If you experience any of these symptoms with your ear infection, youll want to visit a doctor as soon as you can.

  • Its hard to move parts of your face like normal
  • Swelling under or behind the ear
  • Knots forming around the ear
  • A high fever
  • Changes in personality
  • Seizures
  • Discharge draining from the ear

These symptoms may mean your ear infection is much worse than normal cases. If your child has any of these symptoms, its even more important to get them to a doctor quickly.

Though An Ear Infection Is More Frequently Diagnosed In Children It Is Also Common In Adults Know The Type Of Infection You Have And Get Treatments Early

The ear is one of the most sensitive body parts. This sensory organ should be cared properly to avoid various problems, such as an ear infection. An ear infection is a common condition. Even though it is more frequently diagnosed in children, it is also common in adults. The ear consists of the three main parts: outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Sound waves reach the outer ear first, then middle ear and then travel to the inner ear. A number of conditions can influence your hearing and ear infections are the most frequent.

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What Is An Ear Ache And When To See A Doctor

An ear ache is commonly associated with childhood illness but it can actually affect adults too. Both children and adults can experience an ear ache in one or both ears although its more common for the pain to appear in just one. There could be a number of different reasons why an ear ache happens and not all of them mean that you need to go and see a doctor.

Where Can I Find Additional Information About Ear Infections

When Should I See a Doctor About an Ear Infection ...

The NIDCD maintains a directory of organizations that provide information on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language.

Use the following keywords to help you search for organizations that can answer questions and provide printed or electronic information on ear infections:

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Symptoms Of Ear Infection

Babies and small children might:

  • pull or rub their ear
  • have a high temperature
  • have redness around the ear
  • be restless or irritable
  • not respond to noises that would normally attract their attention

See your doctor if:

  • your child is in pain
  • there is discharge from the child’s ear
  • your child is unwell or vomiting
  • your child can’t hear properly
  • there is swelling behind the ear and the ear is being pushed forward
  • your child keeps getting ear infections

Earaches And Ear Infections

Earaches and ear infections can have a variety of causesviral, bacterial and fungaland can affect different parts of the ear. Common infections include inner ear, middle ear and outer ear infections .

Ear infections also can be caused by scratching the ear canal when cleaning their ear, especially if a cotton-tipped applicator or dangerously sharp small object, such as a hair clip, is used. In other cases, a middle ear infection can cause an external infection to develop through the draining of pus into the ear canal through a hole in the eardrum.

Inner Ear

Infections of the inner ear usually result from viral illnesses, such as influenza, and can cause vertigo , dizziness, nausea, imbalance, difficulty concentrating, tinnitus , reduced hearing and other symptoms. These symptoms also may be caused by head injuries, drug reactions, allergies, underlying medical disorders or aging. If you have these symptoms, you should see a physician evaluation to make the diagnosis and to begin appropriate treatment.

If the symptoms are caused by a virus, the infection usually improves on its own. However, a doctor may recommend taking prescription or over-the-counter anti-nausea medications or receiving an injection to control the symptoms. Recurrent symptoms may indicate Menieres disease, a disorder in which fluid builds up in the inner ear and causes vertigo and balance problems.

Middle Ear

Symptoms of middle ear infections include:

Swimmers Ear

Symptoms of swimmers ear include:

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The Pain Doesnt Go Away

The pain from an ear infection will come on fast, but it doesnt usually last longer than a day or two. But if your pain lingers without improving for several days, you should head over to the doctor.

Depending on the severity of your ear infection, they may or may not prescribe you any antibiotics. If they do, make sure you continue taking your daily amount even if your pain is gone.

Swimmer’s Ear Treatment Home Remedies Symptoms & Causes

Ear infections: When should you see a pediatrician?

The doctor may look at the ear canal with a lighted scope called an otoscope. With this, if swimmer’s ear is present the doctor can see if the ear canal is swollen, red, or sometimes coated with a whitish material called an exudate. The doctor may examine the drainage from the ear under a microscope to determine if bacteria or fungi are causing …

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What Causes A Middle Ear Infection

A small tube connects your ear to your throat. These two tubes are called eustachian tubes . A cold can cause this tube to swell. When the tube swells enough to become blocked, it can trap fluid inside your ear. This makes it a perfect place for germs to grow and cause an infection.

Ear infections happen mostly to young children, because their tubes are smaller and get blocked more easily.

What To Consider Before Seeing An Ent

There are a few things you should know before scheduling an ENT visit. Here are some of the most important:

Snoring is not a normal condition: Especially in children. It can be cute and funny sometimes to hear a little kid snore, or it can be downright difficult if your husband or wife is snoring while you are trying to sleep. Certain conditions, such as sleep apnea, can cause snoring. If you or your child snore frequently, it might be a good idea to schedule an ENT visit to get a nasal health check up.

Recurring colds dont always turn into sinus infections: Kids get colds a lot. Because kids are still learning proper sanitary habits , and because of their exposure to many other kids at school and in other settings, it is common for them to be exposed to the cold virus over and over again. However, if the symptoms last for several days, and especially if they worsen after several days, it is a good idea to see a specialist to check for a sinus infection.

Help with Allergies: There is more than just runny noses and sore throats that an ENT can help with. If you or your child has severe allergies, consider seeing an allergy specialist to help alleviate the symptoms.

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What Is An Ear Infection

There are different types of ear infections. Middle ear infection is an infection in the middle ear.

Another condition that affects the middle ear is called otitis media with effusion. It occurs when fluid builds up in the middle ear without being infected and without causing fever, ear pain, or pus build-up in the middle ear.

When the outer ear canal is infected, the condition is called swimmers ear, which is different from a middle ear infection. For more information, visit Swimmers Ear .

Loss Of Appetite In Children

When To See A Doctor For Ear Drainage

If youre wondering when should I see a doctor for an ear infection for your child, a sign your child might be sick is loss of appetite. This can be dangerous, since children need to eat in order to remain healthy, and malnutrition can cause even more issues than a simple ear infection. If you notice any changes in your childs appetite, visit a doctor right away to determine if they have an ear infection.

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Swimmers Ear & Ear Infection

Swimmers ear is caused by excess moisture in the ear from swimming or even routine showering. The bacteria in the water find a hospitable home in the moist environment of an inflamed ear canal. Ear infections can be caused by bacteria and viruses. Bacteria cause most ear infections, but viruses like the flu can also be linked to ear infections.

Middle Ear Fluid Buildup

Most children who have ear infections still have some fluid behind the eardrum a few weeks after the infection is gone. For some children, the fluid clears in about a month. And a few children still have fluid buildup several months after an ear infection clears. This fluid buildup in the ear is called otitis media with effusion. Hearing problems can result, because the fluid affects how the middle ear works. Usually, infection does not occur.

Otitis media with fluid buildup may occur even if a child has not had an obvious ear infection or upper respiratory infection. In these cases, something else has caused eustachian tube blockage.

In rare cases, complications can arise from middle ear infection or fluid buildup. Examples include hearing loss and ruptured eardrum.

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Other Remedies For Symptom Relief

Staying hydrated can help thin mucus to ease congestion.

Drinking hot liquids such as tea and broth may help relieve your symptoms. Breathing in moist air may also help relieve the discomfort that comes with nasal congestion. Try breathing in steam from the shower, a bowl of hot water, or a mug of tea.

If your voice is hoarse, rest it by avoiding yelling, whispering, and singing.

Placing a warm compress over the inflamed area can help reduce pressure and provide relief.

damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.

If you smoke, consider quitting. Ask a doctor if you need help or are interested in quitting. Quitting may help prevent future episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.

Wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu seasons, to keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.

Using a humidifier during the cooler, dryer months may also help prevent sinus infections.

Talk with a doctor to see if allergies are causing your sinusitis. If youre allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies to relieve your sinus infection.

You may need to seek an allergy specialist to determine the cause of the allergy. The specialist may suggest:

Keeping your allergies under control can help prevent repeated episodes of sinusitis.

When Should I Call The Doctor About An Ear Infection

Ear Infection Pain Treatment in an Adult | Auburn Medical Group
  • You or your child develops a stiff neck.
  • Your child acts sluggish, looks or acts very sick, or does not stop crying despite all efforts.
  • Your childs walk is not steady he or she is physically very weak.
  • You or your childs ear pain is severe.
  • You or your child has a fever over 104° F .
  • Your child is showing signs of weakness in their face .
  • You see bloody or pus-filled fluid draining from the ear.
  • The fever remains or comes back more than 48 hours after starting an antibiotic.
  • Ear pain is not better after three days of taking an antibiotic.
  • Ear pain is severe.
  • You have any questions or concerns.

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When To See An Ent Vs Primary Care Doctor

Its perfectly fine to start by making an appointment with your general practitioner for an ear, nose or throat problem. Here are some conditions for which you might go directly to an ENT: Sudden hearing loss that needs a hearing test. Chronic tonsil problems and sore throats for both kids and adults.

Symptoms Of An Ear Infection And When To See A Doctor

By Coastal Urgent Care Baton Rouge

Ear infections are often bacterial, viral or fungal and can lead to things like ear pain and fever. Children are much more susceptible to ear infections, but the good news is they often resolve on their own and without medication. In fact, 60-80 percent of infants suffer from ear infections before they reach their first birthday. By age 3, as many as 80-90 percent of children have experienced their first ear infection.

If you or a loved one suffers from recurrent or chronic ear infections, it might be time to see a doctor.

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Types Of Sinus Infections: Chronic Vs Acute

There are four types of sinus infections. These classifications depend on the length and frequency of the infection:

  • Acute sinusitis.This type of sinus infection lasts only for a short time, defined by the American Academy of Otolaryngology as less than 4 weeks. This short-term infection is usually part of a cold or other respiratory illness. It may also be caused by a bacterial infection .
  • Subacute sinusitis. A subacute sinus infection lasts between 4 and 12 weeks .
  • Recurrent acute sinusitis. An acute sinus infection is considered recurrent if the infection returns four or more times within a year, with each infection lasting 7 days or more.
  • Chronic sinusitis.Chronic sinus infections last for more than 12 weeks or continue to recur.

Many sinus infection symptoms are common in both acute and chronic forms. Seeing a doctor is the best way to learn if you have an infection, find the cause, and get treatment.

For cases of acute bacterial sinus infections, these symptoms last at least 10 days without improving, or they worsen within 10 days after seeming to improve. In this case, its important to talk with a doctor, such as a general practitioner or an ear, nose, and throat doctor , to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Learn more about the symptoms of a sinus infection below.

Swimmer’s Ear Home Remedies Treatment

Should I Go To The Doctor For An Ear Infection 5 Tips To ...

Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear. Swimmers ear is caused excessive exposure to bacteria found lakes, oceans, water parks, and bodies of water cotton swabs, Q-Tips, and foreign objects in the ear. Home remedies for swimmer’s ear include ear drops made from hydrogen peroxide or mineral oil. Prevention of outer ear infections

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Who Is Most Likely To Get An Ear Infection

Middle ear infection is the most common childhood illness . Ear infections occur most often in children who are between age 3 months and 3 years, and are common until age 8. Some 25% of all children will have repeated ear infections.

Adults can get ear infections too, but they dont happen nearly as often as they do in children.

Risk factors for ear infections include:

  • Age: Infants and young children are at greater risk for ear infections.
  • Family history: The tendency to get ear infections can run in the family.
  • Colds: Having colds often increases the chances of getting an ear infection.
  • Allergies: Allergies cause inflammation of the nasal passages and upper respiratory tract, which can enlarge the adenoids. Enlarged adenoids can block the eustachian tube, preventing ear fluids from draining. This leads to fluid buildup in the middle ear, causing pressure, pain and possible infection.
  • Chronic illnesses: People with chronic illnesses are more likely to develop ear infections, especially patients with immune deficiency and chronic respiratory disease, such as cystic fibrosis and asthma.
  • Ethnicity: Native Americans and Hispanic children have more ear infections than other ethnic groups.

Acute Otitis Externa Or Swimmers Ear

Acute otitis externa or swimmerâs ear is caused by an infection, inflammation, or irritation of the ear canal. It can affect children and adults. This condition usually result from water getting trapped in the ear but can also be the result of eczema, excess earwax, use of hearing aids or earbuds, trauma from Q tips or other objects being inserted into the ear canals.

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Tests For Middle Ear Infection

The GP will look carefully at the inside of your childs ear using an instrument called an otoscope.

The GP might also do a tympanometry. This test measures how much your childs eardrum can move, and it can help the GP work out whether the ear is normal. Its usually a painless test that takes just a couple of minutes.

If your child has had several ear infections, or if your doctor thinks there might be a chronic infection or glue ear, the doctor might organise a hearing test. Your child can have a formal hearing test at any age.

How Does An Ent Doctor Diagnose An Ear Infection

Ear Infections: Avoid This One Thing…

As soon as symptoms are present in an adult or child, consult with an New York ENT to evaluate your conditions and make an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor will use a tool called an otoscope that can see deep inside your ear with a light and magnifying glass. Doctors can often detect redness, puss, drainage, or other abnormalities in the middle ear that point to an ear infection. To determine the severity of the condition, your New York ENT may also conduct sample fluid tests, computed tomography scans, or hearing tests.

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