Symptoms of an Ear Infection and When to See a Doctor

A man with an ear infection

Ear infections are often bacterial, viral or fungal and can lead to things like ear pain and fever. Children are much more susceptible to ear infections, but the good news is they often resolve on their own and without medication. In fact, 60-80 percent of infants suffer from ear infections before they reach their first birthday. By age 3, as many as 80-90 percent of children have experienced their first ear infection.

If you or a loved one suffers from recurrent or chronic ear infections, it might be time to see a doctor.

Common symptoms of ear infections

The onset of an ear infection is usually rapid and includes the following symptoms in children:

  1. Ear pain, especially when lying down
  2. Tugging or pulling at an ear
  3. Trouble sleeping
  4. General fussiness or crying more than usual
  5. Trouble hearing or responding to sounds
  6. Loss of balance
  7. Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  8. Drainage of fluid from the affected ear
  9. Headache
  10. Loss of appetite

Common signs and symptoms in adults include:

  1. Ear pain
  2. Drainage of fluid from the affected ear
  3. Trouble hearing

When should I see a doctor for an ear infection?

Ear infections happen fast, so it’s important to understand the signs and know what to do in case you need to see a doctor. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment for ear infections, especially if:

  • Symptoms last for more than 24 hours
  • Symptoms are present in a child less than six months of age
  • Ear pain is severe
  • Your infant or toddler is sleepless or irritable after an upper respiratory infection
  • You see a discharge of clear fluid, pus or bloody fluid from the affected ear

If you or a loved one is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please seek immediate medical treatment. Coastal Urgent Care of Baton Rouge is open for walk-ins 7 days a week between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Our team of skilled specialists has experience treating all types and severities of ear infections.