The symptoms of swimmer's ear include:
Itching inside the ear
Watery discharge from the ear
Severe pain and tenderness in the ear, especially when moving your head or when gently pulling on the earlobe
A foul-smelling, yellowish discharge from the ear
Temporarily muffled hearing (caused by blockage of the ear canal)
You can't quiet your child who has a severe earache by using home treatment over several hours.
Your baby pulls or rubs his or her ear and appears to be in pain (crying, screaming).
Your child's ear pain increases even with treatment.
Your child has a fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher with other signs of ear infection.
You suspect that your child's eardrum has burst, or fluid that looks like pus or blood is draining from the ear.
Your child has an object stuck in his or her ear.
Your child with an ear infection continues to have symptoms (fever and pain) after 48 hours of treatment with an antibiotic.
Your child with an ear tube develops an earache or has drainage from his or her ear.
Watchful waiting is when you and your doctor watch symptoms to see if the health problem improves on its own. If it does, no treatment is needed. If the symptoms don't get better or if they get worse, then it's time to take the next treatment step.
Your doctor may recommend watchful waiting if your child is 2 years of age or older, has mild ear pain, and is otherwise healthy. Most ear infections get better without antibiotics. But if your child's pain doesn't get better with nonprescription children's pain reliever (such as acetaminophen) or the symptoms continue after 48 hours, call a doctor.
Who to see
Health professionals who can diagnose and treat ear infections include: