Mother checks the temperature of a young child

Ear infection and earache treatment

While ear infection symptoms are most common in children, they can happen to anyone. Earaches can have many causes, therefore it is essential to identify the underlying reason for the pain. At GoHealth Urgent Care our experienced providers can correctly evaluate the pain and provide the earache relief you need.

A provider takes the temperature of a young boy

Urgent Care for ear infection symptoms

Do you or your child have ear pain?

We all feel the pain when it comes to ears, even when they are not our own. Don’t suffer, get the help you deserve - and fast! At GoHealth Urgent Care we can help you and your family heal from earaches or ear infections. Visit any of our conveniently located centers today for an evaluation with one of our expert providers.

Provider examining the ear of a patient

Earache and ear infection symptoms

Earaches and infections occur most commonly in children five-years-old and younger, but can arise at any age. The primary earache symptom is dull, throbbing, burning, or sharp pain which can affect one or both ears. Hearing may be affected. The severity of the pain can vary depending on the underlying cause.

Since ear pain occurs most often in young children, they may not always be able to express how they are feeling accurately. Other symptoms to look for include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Drainage of the ear
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of balance
  • Touching or tugging at the ear

 Luckily, most underlying causes of ear pain can be treated. But it is essential to get proper treatment to prevent any long term damage to the ear.

Young child feeling his ear

Earache and ear infection causes

Earaches have many causes, the most common being an ear infection. This inflammation of the eardrum is usually associated with another underlying illness, such as a cold, that causes a block in the internal drainage of the ear and leads to pressurized pain.

There are many other underlying causes of earaches, including:

  • Allergies
  • Clogged Eustachian tubes (ear tubes to the throat)
  • Damage to the ear canal
  • Dental problems
  • Earwax buildup 
  • Excessive mucus
  • Foreign body in the ear
  • Infected adenoids
  • Reactions to tobacco smoke
  • Sinus infection
  • Swimmers ear / external ear infections

To ensure you or your child receives proper treatment for an earache, get evaluated by a health care provider who can help identify the underlying cause of the pain.

Ear Infection/Earache diagnosis and treatment

If you have an earache, your first step should be to schedule a visit with a provider for an exam of your ear. At GoHealth Urgent Care you can walk in or save your spot online at any of our conveniently located centers, 365 days a year. Though Virtual Visits are also available, most earaches require an in-person evaluation.

During the exam, the provider will usually look into your ear with a lighted instrument to confirm the diagnosis. Ear infection treatment depends on the underlying cause. You may need antibiotics, decongestants or pain relievers. 

It is essential not to rely only on at-home earache treatments, which may make the pain worse. Avoid inserting anything into the ears, like cotton swabs, to prevent exacerbating the issue. Upon provider consultation, you’ll receive proper guidance and treatment to remedy your pain.

Two young children jumping into a pool

Swimmer’s Ear

Swimmer’s ear, also known as otitis externa or an external ear infection, occurs along the lining of the outer ear canal. It is most common in children ages 5-18 during the summer months, when kids spend more time swimming. This common condition can have several causes beyond swimming. Swimmer’s ear can be caused by moisture that stays in the ear, abrasions to the outer ear or a decrease in the protective ear wax coating. 

Swimmer’s ear symptoms are similar to other ear infections, such as pain or pulling at the earlobe. Other symptoms can include: redness, enlarged lymph nodes or discharge from the ear.

Keeping the ear canal dry is also essential to helping the ear heal. If the pain does not improve or is accompanied by a fever or swelling of the ear, it is best to be evaluated by a healthcare provider who can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment.

When it comes to a swimmer's ear, prevention is the key. Ear plugs and swim caps can help prevent water from entering the ear. Drying the ear canal completely can also help, but be sure to never put anything into the ear. For more prevention tips or if swimmer’s ear becomes a chronic issue, speak to one of our experienced providers at GoHealth Urgent Care for additional treatment options.

Woman using the GoHealth UC app on her phone

Other Conditions GoHealth Urgent Care Treats

At GoHealth Urgent Care we can treat many other related conditions. These include:

  • Ear wax removal
  • Fever
  • Oral infections
  • Referrals for chronic ear infections
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Sinus infections
  • Upper respiratory infections

We treat the whole family aged 6 months and up, 365 days a year with extended hours.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ear Infections

Frequently Asked Questions About Ear Infections

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