What are the symptoms of ear infections? Everyone has earaches, but how do you know if you have an ear infection? What should you look for when you have an ear pain, to know if you an ear infection?

Ear infections symptoms - sick smiley

Every time you have an ear pain, you probably wondered if you have an ear infection. If it is an ear infection, it is a medical condition which requires medical attention. The ear infection symptoms include clogged ears, a fullness in the sinuses, mucus or runny nose, headaches and in some cases even a mild loss of hearing.

The ear is a complex organ, and has several areas – the inner ear, the middle ear and the outer ear (ear canal). All three areas can get infected, but the most common ear infection is Middle Ear Infection (also called Otitis Media). The middle ear is located behind the ear drum, and it is in charge of transmitting sounds to the inner ear (Cochlea).

Middle ear infections are usually caused by fluid stuck in the middle ear, and not draining out. The fluid is a great place for bacteria, and the pressure on the ear drum causes the sharp pain felt during ear infections. A middle ear infection is usually a result of a flu or cold which overloaded the Eustachian tube – a “valve” in charge of draining the ear from fluid and air.

The main Ear Infection Symptoms

The most common symptom of an ear infection is, surprisingly, an ear pain. An earache is a warning sign for ear infections. Further to the ear pain, ear infection symptoms usually include a headache, mucus, and fever. Some people who have had ear problems before may suffer from a vertigo – loss of balance. This loss of balance may be just during sudden moves (getting up from your chair), or constant difficulty to keep balance.

In some cases, symptoms of ear infections can be a fever, loss of appetite, noises in the ear or muffled hearing and a feeling of itchiness around the ear. These symptoms may appear before or during an ear infection, and should be attended to. This is a medical condition not to be taken lightly, so if you have any of the ear infection symptoms above – go see a doctor.

Severe symptoms of ear infection

Some symptoms of ear infections are dangerous, and have to be checked by a doctor as soon as possible. If you suffer from an ear infection, or you suspect you have an ear infection, and you witness a discharge from the ear, you may have a ruptured ear drum. Another severe ear infection symptom is loss of hearing. Though in most cases the hearing loss is temporary, it is important to have it treated.

OK, I have an ear infection, what now?

Until recently it was believed that ear infections require immediate treatment with antibiotics. The antibiotics will take care of the symptoms of the ear infection such as the infection itself and assist in draining some fluid out of the middle to relieve the pain. Antibiotics for ear infections are often prescribed with pain killers, to treat another symptom of ear infection.

During the last few years, experts in ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) have begun to realize the antibiotics and painkillers can be avoided by allowing the body to heal itself and also by alternative treatments. The AAP (American academy of Pediatrics) have issued new guidelines on treatment of ear infections. The new guidelines recommend waiting for 48-72 hours before using antibiotics. To reassure all the parents out there – you can and should see a doctor, get a prescription for the antibiotics, but wait for a while before using them.

The human body is an amazing machine capable of treating itself, if given some time. Waiting for 1-2 days will give the body an opportunity to heal itself. Another recommendation is to give a lot of TLC (tender love & caring) – the love and care will make the pain less noticeable (a smile and a hug work amazingly).

Go see a doctor!

After all the said above, remember that ear infections are a medical condition that should not be taken lightly. In cases where the ear infections are recurrent you have to see an ENT and see what is causing the infections. In most cases resting for a day or two will help treat the ear infection as much as the antibiotics will.

What about treatment of ear infections?

There are many available treatments, so we recommend you do some reading. You can read our article on some home remedies for ear infections available at home, or find what others have to say on Google. One caveat – the advice and opinions on treating ear infections are diverse and there are many of them. The more you read, the more confused you may be.

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