Is That Persistently Plugged Ear Really an Ear Infection?

ear infectionGiven the similarities between symptoms, identifying an ear infection can be challenging, especially during allergy season and when the barometric pressure changes. Because of the potential long-term damage that persistent ear infections can cause, visiting an ENT is wise if you’ve got symptoms that won’t go away after a few days or are severe (such as a high fever, especially in children).

Common Symptoms of an Ear Infection

Many ear infection symptoms overlap with a head cold or sinus infection. The most common symptoms of an ear infection include dull, sharp, or burning pain in the ear, muffled hearing, a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear, draining fluid, fever, dizziness, or loss of balance.

How Can a Cold Cause an Ear Infection?

The common cold, flu, and allergies all work similarly to cause ear infections. These upper respiratory infections cause congestion, which often results in swelling of the nasal passages, throat, and Eustachian tubes. These tubes connect the middle ear to the upper throat and back of the nasal cavity to equalize air pressure and drain fluid. Any blockage can result in fluid accumulation in the ear, like standing water primed for bacteria or virus growth. Environmental exposures, like tobacco smoke and pollution, can also lead to Eustachian tube inflammation and swelling and, consequently, ear infections.

When Is It Time To See a Doctor for an Ear Infection?

Generally, if you’re experiencing pain or symptoms that last more than 48 hours, it’s advisable to see a doctor, particularly if:

  • You’re feeling intense ear pain
  • Have a fever over 102 degrees
  • Are draining pus, blood, or fluid from your ears
  • If you’re hearing is impacted
  • If you’ve had persistent, recurring ear infections

Mild ear infections, especially those caused by viruses, will typically resolve on their own in a few days, without the need for antibiotics, thanks to the workings of your own immune system. However, bacterial infections may require antibiotics to clear the infection.

Is it Time to Have Your Ear Infection Symptoms Checked and Treated?

Find out what’s behind those ear symptoms by scheduling a visit to Del Rey MD in Marina Del Rey, CA. Call 310-823-4444 or contact us here to schedule an appointment to get started.

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