Should I Go to The Doctor For an Ear Infection? 5 Tips to Help You Decide

ENT physician looking into patient's ear
Should I go to the doctor for an ear infection? The answer to this common question is… maybe. Here are 5 tips to help you decide if you need medical attention

“Should I go to the doctor for an ear infection?”

In most cases, you probably won’t have to worry about it. A middle ear infection, also called otitis media, bring about pain, a clogged or full feeling in the ear, and difficulty hearing.

But all these things are normal.

You can probably wait out an ear infection on your own at home. If the pain goes away after a few days (and it usually will) then there’s no reason to worry.

However, there are several things that should make you visit the doctor for your ear infection. These symptoms or circumstances mean the ear infection is worse or riskier than others, and you should get medical help.

So let’s look at these five reasons you should head to the doctor for an ear infection.

1. The Pain Doesn’t Go Away

The pain from an ear infection will come on fast, but it doesn’t usually last longer than a day or two. But if your pain lingers without improving for several days, you should head over to the doctor.

Depending on the severity of your ear infection, they may or may not prescribe you any antibiotics. If they do, make sure you continue taking your daily amount even if your pain is gone.

2. You Experience Added Symptoms

If you experience any of these symptoms with your ear infection, you’ll want to visit a doctor as soon as you can.

  • It’s hard to move parts of your face like normal
  • Swelling under or behind the ear
  • Knots forming around the ear
  • A high fever (especially one over 100 degrees)
  • Changes in personality (a child might become fussy or lethargic)
  • Seizures
  • Discharge draining from the ear

These symptoms may mean your ear infection is much worse than normal cases. If your child has any of these symptoms, it’s even more important to get them to a doctor quickly.

3. Your Child Is Under Six Months Old

Ear infections are much more serious for young children, especially if they are under six months old. If you suspect your baby or toddler has an ear infection, you should take them to the doctor even if you don’t think the infection is that bad.

4. If You Have Frequent Ear Infections

Though each of these on their own may not be harmful, a doctor may be able to keep the ear infections from popping up so often.

If this ear infection is just one of the many you’ve been dealing with the past few months, you should get it checked out by a doctor.

5. Your Home Remedies Aren’t Working

Things like ibuprofen and hot compresses are usually enough to battle an ear infection. In some cases, even if you see a doctor, they will just tell you to keep treating it with home remedies.

If you have been trying this but the ear infection doesn’t get any better, head to the doctor.

Should I Go to the Doctor for an Ear Infection?

If you’re dealing with ear pain and still asking yourself, “Should I go to the doctor for an ear infection?” the right answer depends on your symptoms and situation. There are times, especially if your baby has an ear infection, you should go to the doctor right away. But in most cases, you can probably wait out an ear infection on your own.

Think you might have an ear infection and aren’t sure who to see, contact us and we’ll get you the help you need.

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