Reviewed by: Frank Garber
Ear infections are the number one reason parents bring their children to the doctor. In fact, by the time they’re 3 years old, five out of six children will have experienced at least one ear infection. Adults can also suffer from the pain of an ear infection.
With ear infections being so common, especially for children, it’s understandable to question whether you should go to urgent care for an ear infection. Learn if you have an ear infection, when an ear infection is serious, when you should see a doctor for your ear pain and what a doctor can do to treat an ear infection.
Typically, viruses such as the flu cause inner ear infections. Common inner ear infection symptoms include:
It’s best to have a doctor evaluate your symptoms and provide you with the correct diagnosis and treatment.
If these symptoms are related to a viral ear infection, it’s common for the infection to resolve on its own within a few days. In some cases, a doctor may need to prescribe anti-nausea medication or other medication to help control the symptoms and treat the inner ear infection.
The middle ear is located right behind the eardrum and is connected to the throat by a small tube called the eustachian tube. The eustachian tube drains fluids but can easily become blocked due to a cold. When the tube is blocked, an infection can occur. Middle ear infections are more common among infants and children, as it’s easier for their eustachian tubes to become blocked.
Common middle ear infection symptoms include:
Middle ear infections tend to go away on their own. However, depending on the patient’s age and the severity of the infection, a doctor may prescribe ear drops or antibiotics.
Swimmer’s ear, an external ear infection, occurs when the outer ear canal becomes infected. Swimmer’s ear often develops after exposure to large amounts of water such as a swimming pool, lake or ocean. When water is in the ear canal for an extended period, fungi and bacteria from the water can grow and infect the ear.
Common swimmer’s ear symptoms include:
Like the other ear infections mentioned above, treatment will depend on the infection’s severity and other individual factors. For some cases, prescription ear drops or antibiotics may be necessary. Swimmer’s ear will typically be cured within seven to 10 days.
Our bodies can typically fight off an ear infection on their own, but you can do things to help your body during this process. Getting enough rest is crucial as your body has to work overtime to fight off infection. It’s also important to nourish your body with enough water and healthy foods.
Other types of treatment include:
As discussed earlier, infections that last longer than three days will require additional treatment from a doctor. After visiting your doctor, you should start feeling better within a few days. If symptoms continue and you do not feel better, contact your doctor, as a different antibiotic may need to be prescribed.
As ear infections often go away on their own, it can be hard to know when ear pain is serious enough to see a doctor. Common symptoms that indicate you should go to urgent care for ear infection treatment include:
When seeking treatment for an ear infection, choose an urgent care provider that delivers personal care. SouthStar Urgent Care is the leading provider of urgent care services throughout Louisiana. Our team members treat each patient how we would like to be treated, ensuring you get quality care for you and your family.
Find a SouthStar Urgent Care clinic near you today!