Quick Answer: How Do I Know If My Ear Infection Is Bacterial Or Viral?

Can an ear infection be a sign of something more serious?

Unlike childhood ear infections, which are often minor and pass quickly, adult ear infections are frequently signs of a more serious health problem.

If you’re an adult with an ear infection, you should pay close attention to your symptoms and see your doctor..

What happens if you dont treat an ear infection?

Ear infections can lead to more serious complications, including mastoiditis (a rare inflammation of a bone adjacent to the ear), hearing loss, perforation of the eardrum, meningitis, facial nerve paralysis, and possibly — in adults — Meniere’s disease.

How do you remove fluid from your ear?

How to remove water from your ear canalJiggle your earlobe. This first method may shake the water out of your ear right away. … 2. Make gravity do the work. … Create a vacuum. … Use a blow dryer. … Try alcohol and vinegar eardrops. … Use hydrogen peroxide eardrops. … Try olive oil. … Try more water.More items…•

When should you go to the hospital for an ear infection?

When to Go to the ER for Ear Pain Stiff neck. Severe drowsiness. Nausea and/or vomiting. High fever.

How do you know if you have an infection in your ear?

The symptoms of an ear infection in adults are: Earache (either a sharp, sudden pain or a dull, continuous pain) A sharp stabbing pain with immediate warm drainage from the ear canal. A feeling of fullness in the ear.

Do I need antibiotics for an ear infection?

Antibiotics are often not needed for middle ear infections because the body’s immune system can fight off the infection on its own. However, sometimes antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, are needed to treat severe cases right away or cases that last longer than 2–3 days.

Are you contagious if you have an ear infection?

Ear infections are not contagious or spread from one person to another, but the colds that result in ear infections are. Colds are spread when germs are released from the nose or mouth during coughing or sneezing.

What does an ear infection smell like?

Anaerobic bacteria, in other words, bacteria that do not require oxygen to survive, tend to emit a foul odor that will make earwax stink. That bad smell can also mean there is an infection causing middle ear damage. You might feel like your balance is off and hear a ringing or other phantom noise in the affected ear.

Is it safe to put hydrogen peroxide in your ear?

Hydrogen peroxide, although a common household substance, is highly oxidizing in nature. People may insert it into their ears to soften earwax so that it can drain out. However, excessive use of hydrogen peroxide can lead to irritation of the skin inside the ear, which may cause inflammation and earaches.

Can you check for an ear infection at home?

Test Overview An otoscope is a handheld instrument with a light, a magnifying lens, and a funnel-shaped viewing piece with a narrow, pointed end called a speculum. A home ear examination can help detect many ear problems, such as ear infections, excessive earwax, or an object in the ear canal.

When should an adult go to the doctor for an ear infection?

You should contact your doctor immediately if: The symptoms do not improve within 3 days. Body temperature rises above 100.4 degrees as an accompanying fever could indicate a more serious infection. Ear infections are being experienced regularly, as they can eventually lead to hearing loss.

What does and ear infection look like?

Signs of Infection Here are some things to look for: A red, bulging eardrum. Clear, yellow, or greenish fluid behind the eardrum. There may also be some blood.

Is an ear infection a virus or bacteria?

An ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection of the middle ear. This infection causes inflammation and the buildup of fluid within the internal spaces of the ear.

When an ear infection is serious?

This infection can result in damage to the bone and the formation of pus-filled cysts. Rarely, serious middle ear infections spread to other tissues in the skull, including the brain or the membranes surrounding the brain (meningitis). Tearing of the eardrum. Most eardrum tears heal within 72 hours.

How long can you leave an ear infection untreated?

Eustachian tubes do not work properly when filled with drainage from the nose or mucous from allergies, colds, bacteria, or viruses because the drainage presses on the eardrum, which is what causes the pain. A chronic ear infection can last for 6 weeks or more, but most go away on their own after 3 days.

Should I go to urgent care for ear infection?

For this reason, it is important to have an earache or possible infection evaluated by a medical professional. Consider contacting your local FastMed Urgent Care clinic or seek immediate medical attention if you or your child experiences vomiting, headaches, high fever, or pain inside or behind the ear.

Do ear infections clear up on their own?

Most ear infections cure themselves without the help of antibiotics. “An ear infection is a bacterial or viral infection that affects the ear. It becomes painful when buildups of fluid and inflammation occur in the air-filled space behind the eardrum,” says Leanna Munoz, Mayo Clinic Health System nurse practitioner.