Pus develops as the body
tries to fight the ear infection. More fluid collects and pushes against the
eardrum, causing pain and sometimes problems hearing. Fever generally lasts
a few days. And pain and crying usually last for several hours. After
that, most children have some pain on and off for several days, although young
children may have pain that comes and goes for more than a week.
Antibiotic treatment may shorten some
symptoms. But most of the time the
immune system can fight infection and heal the ear
infection without the use of these medicines. Children under 2 are treated with antibiotics, because they are more likely to have complications from the ear infection.
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
In children, the symptoms are:
Tugging at the ear
Crying at night when lying down
In severe cases, too much fluid can increase pressure on the eardrum
ruptures, allowing the fluid to drain. When this
happens, fever and pain usually go away and the infection clears. The eardrum
usually heals on its own, often in just a couple of weeks.
complications, such as a condition called chronic
suppurative otitis media (an ear infection with chronic drainage), can arise
from repeat ear infections.
Middle ear fluid buildup (otitis media with effusion)
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 (effusion) 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 (effusion) 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.