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What signs and symptoms of an ear infection should I call my doctor about?

ANSWER

It's important to know when your discomfort might be a sign of something more serious.

Call your doctor if:

  • You notice fluid (such as pus or blood) oozing out of your ear
  • You have a high fever, headache, or are dizzy
  • You believe an object is stuck in your ear
  • You see swelling behind your ear, especially if that side of your face feels weak or you can't move the muscles there
  • You've had severe ear pain and it suddenly stops (which could mean a ruptured eardrum)
  • Your symptoms don't get better (or get worse) in 24 to 48 hours

Mayo Clinic: “Ear Infection (Middle Ear).”

National Institutes of Health: “Quick Statistics About Hearing.”

American Academy of Pediatrics: “The Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media,” " Complementary, Holistic, and Integrative Medicine: Therapies for Acute Otitis Media."

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine: “Efficacy of naturopathic extracts in the management of ear pain associated with acute otitis media.”

AARP Health: "Earache."

Health Guidance: "How to Treat an Earache Using Home Remedies."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on March 26, 2019

Mayo Clinic: “Ear Infection (Middle Ear).”

National Institutes of Health: “Quick Statistics About Hearing.”

American Academy of Pediatrics: “The Diagnosis and Management of Acute Otitis Media,” " Complementary, Holistic, and Integrative Medicine: Therapies for Acute Otitis Media."

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine: “Efficacy of naturopathic extracts in the management of ear pain associated with acute otitis media.”

AARP Health: "Earache."

Health Guidance: "How to Treat an Earache Using Home Remedies."

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on March 26, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

Can you treat ear pain at home?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.