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Ear Infections - Symptoms

Symptoms of a middle ear infection (acute otitis media) often start 2 to 7 days after the start of a cold or other upper respiratory infection. Symptoms of an ear infection may include:

  • Ear pain (mild to severe). Babies often pull or tug at their ears when they have an earache.
  • Fever.
  • Drainage from the ear that is thick and yellow or bloody. This means the eardrum has probably burst (ruptured). The hole in the eardrum often heals by itself in a few weeks.
  • Loss of appetite, vomiting, and grumpy behavior.
  • Trouble sleeping.

Symptoms of fluid buildup may include:

Recommended Related to Ear Infection

Understanding Ear Infection -- Symptoms

The symptoms of an ear infection in adults are: Earache (either a sharp, sudden pain or a dull, continuous pain) A sharp stabbing pain with immediate warm drainage from the ear canal A feeling of fullness in the ear Nausea Muffled hearing Ear drainage In children, the symptoms are: Tugging at the ear Poor sleep Fever Irritability, restlessness Ear drainage Diminished appetite Crying at night when lying down  

Read the Understanding Ear Infection -- Symptoms article > >

  • Popping, ringing, or a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear. Children often have trouble describing this feeling. They may rub their ears trying to relieve pressure.
  • Trouble hearing. Children who have problems hearing may seem dreamy or inattentive, or they may appear grumpy or cranky.
  • Balance problems and dizziness.

Some children don't have any symptoms.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 30, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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