Symptoms of earaches and ear infections
Kids younger than five years old are most likely to get earaches and infections, but anyone can get them. A slow, throbbing, burning, or sharp pain in one or both ears is the main sign of an earache. Hearing might get worse. How bad the pain is can change based on what's causing it.
Young children are most likely to have ear pain, so they might not always be able to say what they really feel. Here are some more signs to look out for:
- Having trouble sleeping
- Ear drainage
- Fever and irritability
- Not wanting to eat
- Not being able to balance
- Getting close to or pulling on the ear
Luckily, most of the reasons why people have ear pain can be fixed. But it is very important to get the right care to keep the ear from getting worse in the long run.
How to diagnose and treat an ear infection or headache
If your ear hurts, the first thing you should do is make an appointment to see a doctor so they can check out your ear. You can walk into any of our NeuMed Modern Urgent Care clinics any day of the year, or you can reserve your spot online. Virtual Visits are also an option, but most earaches need to be checked out in person.
During the checkup, the doctor will likely use a lit instrument to look into your ear to confirm the diagnosis. How you treat an ear infection depends on what caused it. You might need pain killers, medicines, or decongestants.
It is important not to only use home remedies for earaches, as they could make the pain worse. Do not put anything in the ears, like cotton swabs, to keep the problem from getting worse. When you see a provider, they will give you the right advice and treatment to get rid of your pain.
Swimmer's Ear: This is an infection that happens along the inside of the outer ear canal. It is also called otitis externa or an external ear infection. Kids ages 5 to 18 are most likely to get it in the summer, when they spend more time swimming. This common condition can be caused by more than just swimming. People who swim can get swimmer's ear if wetness stays in the ear, the outer ear gets scratched, or the protective ear wax coating thins.
Some signs of swimmer's ear are the same as those of other ear diseases, like pain or pulling at the earlobe. Some other signs are redness, swollen lymph nodes, or fluid from the ear.
To help the ear heal, it's also important to keep the ear canal dry. If the pain doesn't go away or comes with a fever or ear swelling, you should seek care.
Not getting swimmer's ear is the best way to avoid getting it. Swim caps and ear plugs can help keep water out of the ears. Also, making sure the ear canal is totally dry can help. But never put anything in the ear. Talk to one of our expert providers at NeuMed Modern Urgent Care about other ways to treat swimmer's ear or for more tips on how to avoid getting it in the first place.
Visit NeuMed Modern Urgent Care for all of your urgent care needs
At NeuMed Modern Urgent Care + IV Therapy, we can help you find the right treatment and care for all types of allergies. We can also help treat related issues such as:
- Skin rashes and Eczema
- Minor insect bites & stings
- Mild asthma attacks & asthma symptoms
Frequently Asked Questions About Ear Infections
Yes, serious ear pain can spread to the teeth, jaw, face, and sinuses.
No, ear infections are not contagious. But the underlying cause of the infection, such as a cold, may be contagious.
If you use ear drops, the symptoms of swimmer's ear should get better in two to three days. In 7 to 10 days, the pain should be gone for good.
Most of the time, kids get more ear infections than adults do because their Eustachian tubes are smaller and more level, which makes it harder for blood to drain out of their ears. Because of an allergy or respiratory infection, the tubes may get plugged or swollen. This makes it hard for the fluid to drain, which can lead to an infection.
It is based on the kind of illness. If you are getting treatment for a middle ear infection, you can swim, but if your child has swimmer's ear, they should not swim until the symptoms go away. Your source can help you figure out what the right conditions are for water play. If you can't stay away from the water, use ear plugs or a swim cap to keep water out of your ears.
As soon as you notice that your ear pain is getting worse, you should see a doctor. This is especially important if you have a fever or a discharge coming from your ears.
At NeuMed Modern Urgent Care, you can walk in or save your spot online at any of our convenient locations 365 days a year open from 8am to 8pm.