When Does An Ear Infection Require Medical Treatment?

ear infection

An ear infection is caused by a bacterial or viral infection of the fluid within the eustachian tubes of the ear.  There are many different factors that can lead to an ear infection. It can affect the outer, inner, or middle ear. Typically, ear infection symptoms can manifest very quickly. There is often a great deal of pain and discomfort associated with an ear infection. The pain is due to inflammation and fluid build-up within the tiny ear spaces located behind the eardrum.

Sometimes, the discomfort may go away on its own. If the pain does not go away, there are clues to whether medical attention is necessary. The medical experts at UrgentMED specialize in diagnosing ear infections in babies, children, and adults. We want to help you determine if you may need to visit one of our offices for ear infection treatment.  

Ear Infection Symptoms in Infants and Young Children

Here’s what to look for if you think your infant or young child may have an ear infection.

  • You may notice your baby is crying more than normal without the ability to be soothed
  • You may find your toddler keeps tugging at the ear
  • There may be a fever present that persists longer than 48 hours
  • There may be fluid coming out of the affected ear
  • There may be a loss of appetite
  • You may notice that your child is having difficulty sleeping
ear infection symptoms

Ear Infection Symptoms in Adults

  • Fever of 101 or more that does not go away
  • Pain that persists for two or more days
  • Discharge of fluid coming from the affected ear
  • Loss of balance
  • Trouble hearing

Signs that Your Ear Infection Requires Medical Attention

You may need to seek medical attention if you notice a bloody discharge coming from out of the affected ear. There could also be persistent pain that is often associated with an ear infection lasting for 48 hours or more. Other symptoms include a high fever and trouble breathing especially after a cold. If you think you or your family member needs to be seen right away, please visit one of the UrgentMED Clinics. No appointment is necessary.

Common Causes of Ear Infections

Children are more susceptible to getting ear infections than adults. That’s because the eustachian tubes of a child are very small compared to those in adults. Also, their immune systems are still developing. In adults, a cold or respiratory infection can sometimes result in an ear infection. It causes the eustachian tubes to fill with fluid and pressure.

ear infection signs

Ear Infection Treatments and Recommendations

After a proper diagnosis from a medical doctor, there may be a prescription required for antibiotics. It is also common to recommend the use of OTC decongestants, antihistamines, or topical antimicrobials. In some cases, the doctor may also perform a complete cleaning of the outer-ear.

Seek Medical Attention

Our medical team at UrgentMED advises seeking medical care quickly as to avoid any serious risks associated with ear infections. Visiting an UrgentMED clinic does not require an appointment and we are open every day with free parking. With 15 locations around Los Angeles and Anaheim, UrgentMED is the largest comprehensive urgent care network in Southern California. Find a convenient location and let our team help you stay on a healthy track.