As if an ear infection isn’t terrible enough as it is, when you’re dealing with the excruciating pain, you must decide if you should seek medical help as soon as possible or wait if you can treat it yourself. But take note that even if you can manage ear pain at home, there are times that you really have to see a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
So before saying to yourself, “I really need to walk in to an urgent care facility near me,” an ENT specialist in Eagle Mountain says that you should learn these warning signs that indicate you need medical attention ASAP:
When to See a Doctor for Ear Pain
Generally speaking, otitis media or middle ear infections usually cause pain, a sensation of fullness, and difficulty hearing primarily because of the buildup of fluid inside the Eustachian tube and inner ear. But if you’re also experiencing any of these warning signs, you must get yourself checked immediately:
- Difficulty moving some parts of the face
- Swelling or a knot behind or under the ear
- Sudden high fever
- Personality changes, such as being lethargic or fussy — especially in children
When Age is a Critical Factor
Cases of ear infections in children are extremely concerning, especially if the child is younger than six months and are experiencing high fever, severe ear pain, infection in one or both ears, or a ruptured eardrum. Having that said, if a child this young is exhibiting symptoms of ear pain, such as tinkering with the ear, get medical attention for your child immediately.
Tips to Manage Ear Pain
If for some reason you can’t get medical attention right away, you could try managing your symptoms at home with the following tips:
Take pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to reduce your fever and control pain. Consider taking a decongestant as well if you believe that it’s making your pain worse. See how your symptoms respond to these meds.
- Apply hot compress. Moist, warm heat against your ear could help ease your pain.
- Consider the steam method. When showering or bathing, use hot water so that the steam in your bathroom could help with your congestion and alleviate your pain.
- Make your ears pop to help drain fluid buildup. To do this, close your mouth and hold your nose while trying to get as much air to flow into your nose. Do this until you hear your ears pop.
- Do an alcohol and vinegar rinse. If you think your symptoms are due to swimmer’s ear, put a mixture of alcohol and vinegar inside a dropper and then pour it into your ear.
- Opt for soft foods. This is especially helpful if your pain feels worse when chewing, yawning, and swallowing.
In the event that these self-treatment methods don’t work for you, get yourself to an urgent care facility as soon as possible. Additionally, if your symptoms don’t improve or get worse a day or two after treatment, get medical attention pronto.