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When an Earache Needs Medical Attention

Last month we went over the signs and symptoms of realizing when a stomachache may require a visit to the doctor, recently I was confronted with a similar issue — an earache. I used to think that ear infections were just a problem for babies and small children, but adults can suffer from them, too. While earaches can be a symptom of a cold, that ache can turn into an infection. Since ear infections require antibiotics (earaches generally subsides when the cold goes away), your ears might need some medical attention.

Here are symptoms to look for when an earache has evolved into an ear infection, meaning time to visit your doctor.

  • Loss of appetite. This may be apparent in young children, especially during bottle feedings. Pressure changes in the middle ear as the child swallows, causing more pain.
  • Irritability.
  • Poor sleep. Pain may be more persistent when lying down as fluid is shifting.
  • Fever. Ear infections can cause temperatures up to 104°F.
  • Vertigo. You may have a sense of spinning.
  • Drainage from the ear. Yellow, brown, or white fluid that isn't earwax may seep from the ear, indicating the eardrum has ruptured.
  • Difficulty hearing. Fluid build-up in the middle ear prevents the eardrum from functioning properly. The sound is then unable to be transmitted to the bones of the middle ear and from there to the brain.
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bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Ugh. I got my first ear infection when I was in my early 20's too. I think I experienced every simptom listed up there....
JessNess JessNess 8 years
When I was little I had an ear infection but without ANY SYMPTOMS so my parents had no idea I was sick. It eventually ruptured and my mom rushed me to an Ear doc who treated it and now Im left with a scarred eardrumEmalove- your ears are probably irritated by the cold air. Whenever the air is cold it causes me a lot of ear pain and can make me sick. I always have to have cotton on hand or a hat that goes over my ears
JessNess JessNess 8 years
When I was little I had an ear infection but without ANY SYMPTOMS so my parents had no idea I was sick. It eventually ruptured and my mom rushed me to an Ear doc who treated it and now Im left with a scarred eardrum Emalove- your ears are probably irritated by the cold air. Whenever the air is cold it causes me a lot of ear pain and can make me sick. I always have to have cotton on hand or a hat that goes over my ears
emalove emalove 8 years
Earaches are the WORST. I never got them as a child. In fact, I didn't get my first one until I was 24 when I had the flu REALLY bad. I was so sick for more than a month and I had an earache that wouldn't quit. I was on more medication that month than I'd been on in my whole life! Ever since then, I get them almost every winter and they are so painful.
Schaianne Schaianne 8 years
I used to get chronic earaches as a child - I almost had to have tubes put in! I hate them!!!
karlorene karlorene 8 years
Ugh, I came on popsugar to take a break from studying for my Hearing Science final and this is the post I see lol
BRANDYNICOLE730 BRANDYNICOLE730 8 years
A girl that I knew when I was young had an earache, and went to the doctor to get it treated. the doctor failed to treat her with antibiotics, and just provided her with pain killers. Failing to treat the ear infection itself, caused it to move into her brain and become spinal meningitis. Unfortunately, it caused a severe deterioration of her body, and she has been living in anursing home for several years, since she was 19! Yea, no thank you on the ear infection. If my ear hurts, I'm going to the doctor and making sure it is treated correctly!
sungminnie sungminnie 8 years
Wow, this is convenient.. since i just got one. It hurts a lot.
laceykk23 laceykk23 8 years
i just got over one and it was the worst earache i have ever had. i used to get the chronically as a kid but i guess i was too young to remember how painful they are. mine probably lasted about a week and a half. i hope i never have to deal with that for a long time!!! thanks for the tips though!!!
LexxyTaylor LexxyTaylor 8 years
hate those
LexxyTaylor LexxyTaylor 8 years
hate those
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 8 years
My dad had an earache the night before he had to fly to China. Apparently flying with an earache can be dangerous, so he had to go to a doctor treat it before the flight.
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