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Ear Infection Health Center

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Ear Pain or Drainage

Earwax is a light to dark brown or orange discharge that does not have an unpleasant or foul odor. It is normal for earwax to drain from the ear, and it can sometimes look like fluid draining from the ear. Draining earwax usually is not painful.

After bathing, swimming, or inserting drops into the ear, fluid may drain from the ear. This is also normal.

Recommended Related to Ear Infection

Understanding Swimmer's Ear -- Treatment

Swimmer's ear is usually not a dangerous condition and often clears up within a few days after starting treatment. However, if untreated, it can become extremely and surprisingly painful. In rare cases, especially in diabetes patients or anyone with problems with their immune system, the infection may be more difficult to treat and can spread and damage underlying bones and cartilage, requiring hospitalization. Your doctor may gently clean your ear with a cotton-tipped probe or a suction device...

Read the Understanding Swimmer's Ear -- Treatment article > >

Mild ear pain can mean a variety of minor ear problems that usually are not a cause for concern. Moderate to severe ear pain is more significant when other symptoms of an ear infection are also present. Do not try to remove earwax if you have moderate to severe ear pain or drainage.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised January 9, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 09, 2012
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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