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Do you need a doctor? Ear pain and infection

An ear infection requires a doctor's attention.

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, signs of an ear infection may include:

  • Pain. This is usually the first symptom of an infection.
  • Drainage. Watch for yellow or white fluid draining from the ear. It will look different from normal earwax and may have a bad odor.
  • Fever. However, not all ear infections cause fever.
  • Trouble hearing. Fluid in the ear can cause temporary hearing trouble.

Ear infections should be treated by a doctor to prevent more serious problems, such as permanent hearing loss or even meningitis, which is an infection of the tissue around the brain and spinal cord.

reviewed 1/13/2020

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