How to Tell If an Ear Infection Requires Medical Attention

Sick female having ear painSuffering from an ear infection is difficult enough as it is. However, when trying to nurse the infection at home, you likewise need to make a decision—do I visit the doctor or just deal with it at home? Even if an ear infection would sometimes clear itself up, there are some cases when you might need help from your doctor to accurately diagnose your pain and treat the infection.

Should I Visit The Doctor?

In most instances, otitis media, also known as middle ear infections lead to a feeling of fullness in the affected ear, difficulty hearing, and pain, primarily because of the accumulation of fluid in the Eustachian tube and inner ear, explains an experienced otolaryngologist in a top walk-in clinic in Gulf Shores, AL. But if your pain comes with these symptoms, you need medical help as soon as possible:

  • High fever
  • Difficulty moving some portions of your face
  • Swelling or a knot behind or under your ear
  • Seizure
  • Personality changes, like being suddenly lethargic or irritable

It’s also vital to note that age is a huge consideration. Generally speaking, an ear infection is more concerning when the patient is younger than six months old and is accompanied by a rupture, as well as high fever and severe pain. So if you see your little one constantly grabbing an ear and exhibiting other common signs of an ear infection, seek medical help right away.

What to Expect During the Examination

During your ear examination, a doctor or nurse would check your temperature, your symptoms, blood pressure, and ask what you have been doing to manage your condition at home. Your doctor would then check your ears, specifically your eardrum and canal, as well as your neck, jaw, teeth, and nose. Once your infection has been diagnosed, your treatment would mainly depend on the specific type of infection you’re dealing with, usually with a course of antibiotics and steroid drops. Do note though that not all ear infections would require antibiotics.

Once your consultation is done, you need to follow the instructions of your doctor. This is especially crucial if you’ve been prescribed antibiotics because you need to continue taking them even if you already feel better. Lastly, don’t forget to check in with your doctor for your follow-up visit. However, if your symptoms worsen or don’t improve within a couple of days, see your doctor promptly.